The Letter

 

Photo Credit: Angie McMonigal Photography

I was scurrying down the street last week when I found a misplaced letter. A gentle breeze had stirred, carrying the note across my path where it then fell into a pile of crumbled, wet leaves buried below the shrubs next to the sidewalk.

I almost let it lay there, allowing it to settle into its new home for the time being, but something about it called to me despite the fact that nothing about it was particularly remarkable. Its color was a subtle ecru and when I bent down to pick it up, I almost didn’t see it.

But just as I was about to stand up and continue on my way, I saw it again, lying crumpled and cozy, as if it had lain there, hidden, within the existence of a lifetime.

I tentatively picked up the letter, taking in its velvety texture. The words on the page were as silky as the paper itself, written with an easy hand, forever etching themselves onto the page.

The letter began as many letters do: My Dear.

There was no named recipient, though, for that person must have known that they were the intended benefactor of the letter’s contents.

I cautiously continued reading, but the raw honesty and intimacy of the letter was so shocking and awkward at first, that I had to look away.

You are the love of my life. You are the light of my life, my life’s many lights.

Your compassion is a sudden flash of sunlight piercing through an open window as it pierces through my heart, so intense and shocking that my eyes and heart squint in their vulnerability.

Something about the very essence of the letter drew me back in though. The words were so recognizable – so knowable – it was if the words had been written by me or maybe even for me.

Your generosity of spirit, your unfathomable patience, your fierce resilience. They are the fuchsia lights of first dawn, the salmon-colored twilights before stars capture the night sky, the filtered lights that escape through the melancholic clouds.

I read slowly, savoring each word. I imagined the writer’s pen gently caressing the page, acting as a medium for the ethereal to manifest itself in a tangible way.

Your touch, your laughter, your beauty – each of them are a million twinkling lights, a disco ball of flashing lights, the vibrant multi-hued lights that stream through a stained glass window.

And always, there is the ubiquitous soft glow of your mercy tucking me in each night, smoothing my hair and kissing my cheek, replacing the angst with sanguine peace.

You are the light of my life, my life’s many lights.

And there the letter ended. There was no signature; the sender must have been confident that their identity would be known.

I re-read the letter a few more times, uncertain about what to do with it. Should I keep it? Should I leave it where I found it, hidden under the shrub amidst the crumbled leaves and dirt? Should I try to find the letter’s home with its rightful owner?

Then I became worried: Had the intended beneficiary ever received the letter? Had the letter’s sentiments been made known?

As it stood there frozen in the middle of the sidewalk I became aware that, at that moment, I was the recipient of the writer’s soulful expressions of love, the weight of that realization  both overwhelming and empowering.

I carefully folded the letter and gently placed it in my pocket, unable to part with it just yet. The letter beckoned to me for the rest of the day and I decided that would try to find a safe place to display it in the hopes that it would be seen by the sender or its intended recipient.

But before doing so, I read it over and over, each time hoping and praying with every fiber of my being that the letter had found – or would find – its rightful owner, that the passion behind the words had been made known, that the sender’s feelings were heard and acknowledged.

For the alternative was just too heartbreaking to consider.

This post is pseudo-fiction. While there was no lost love letter that crossed my path, I believe that there are soulful, spirit-filled letters of all kinds that reside in the hearts of each of us. I hope that, with a little luck and a lot of Grace, the words of those letters will find their way home. The mere idea that a person could be unaware of their worth, their importance, their light on the life of another is just too heartbreaking to consider.

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This post was inspired by a photo provided by Angie McMonigal Photography as part of our Photo Inspiration Challenge. I am eternally grateful for her unyielding support and striking sources of inspiration. You can see more of her work on her website or Facebook page.

I am linking up for the first time with Emily for Imperfect Prose, which has the appropriate theme of “light” this week.

 

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13 Comments

  • Thank you for the kind words after your post. Of course, you will always have my support, you are one of my oldest friends and there is no doubt your writing is outstanding. And if my photos provide any inspiration…I am truly honored:)

    • Thanks! I amazes me how many people must go one not knowing what they mean to someone else, whether it’s a parent, child, friend, cousin, lover, etc. Breaks my heart…

  • oh, i love the thought of this. those words scrawled out, those hearts meeting light… the unfinishedness of it all, as all love is really. so, so great. So happy to have you link up with our IP clan. 🙂

  • I was going to ask you if this really happened, because it’s such an extraordinary story – so thanks for clarifying at the end! 🙂 I don’t think I’d be as receptive to such a letter as you were. I think I’d stick with the looking away, or might do some eye-rolling or perhaps admit jealousy of the intended recipient of the letter. I think it’s very hard to accept messages from God like this, so I appreciate your open heart here!

  • Well played, Christie. I have to admit, I wondered… It is so rare that anyone takes the time to write a letter like that by hand. And the words, though beautiful, sound like they surfaced through the 19th century (with the exception of the disco ball). I love the sentiment of your post. Yes, imagine if a letter like that was lost and the recipient never knew. I’m sure it’s happened – hence your pseudo-fiction. When I opened your site and saw the photograph it did strike me. They all do, but this one in particular – stunning – as is the content of your post.

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