Last week, my family lost one of our dearest friends. For nearly 20 years (before her illness took away her ability to speak & have mobility), she and my mom shared moments of joy, laughter, stress, sorrow & concern. My sophomore year of college, I was the concern. My best friend was battling anorexia, and I was sinking into the muck and mire of depression. It was the worst year of my life. And then, one day, I got a letter---a letter that told how much I was being prayed for. A letter that said she was keeping my mom company during my battle. A letter that shared a prayer request about her own daughter. A letter that brought hope.
You know one of the hardest things since "Aunt Paula" died last week? I vaguely remember throwing that letter out a few years ago. That letter had stayed with me through college, my wedding, becoming a mom, and many moves. But, I was in "clean & purge" mode, and had no idea that in just a few years I wouldn't have the person--and that I would give anything to have a "hard copy" of the love and prayers that radiated from her. A grown woman wrote a letter to a floundering 19 year old, and the memory of it still sustains and encourages me.
Don't ever underestimate how much a letter can mean to someone. It is a precious way to build, maintain, and remember friendships.