The computer screen flickered to life. As the dial twisted on the speakers, a soft buzzing crackled in the chill autumn air that warned of a coming storm. The window overlooking the street gave a beautiful view but a terrible draft. She opened an internet page and typed in where she wanted to go. Of course, it wasn’t really where she wanted to go, simply a page that showed her the life she wanted as she struggled not to live vicariously through the pictures and thoughts of others.
With frayed nerves thanks to ealier stress, she opened her inbox, only to discover a most mysterious message. It was not hte content, for that was simply put and clearly stated: How are you? We are thinking of you and praying for you. Hope things are well. The usual nonsense from a person reaching out but with nothing specific to say. It was the sender that made the message curious.
Her heart lept in fearful joy. She had never expected to hear from this person, but here they were, inviting her to communicate and expressing friendly love. Her hands rushed to the keys and she hurriedly typed out a reply. She had never typed so fast as she did now, almost afraid that the message would suddenly disappear and with it, the relationship. Frantically and joyfully she replied that things were well, if not a little difficult now and then. She had few complaints, a job, a shelter, love and a little hope. All her plans had come to naught and she found herself in a place completely foreign even in its familiarity. But she was well enough, interested and slightly unsure about what strange blessings the future might hold. In her excitement, she wrote a short novel back to the friend whose community she had missed. Anxiously, she pressed down the button to send and waited. Lunch went by, a phone call, a few hours, and then with one forlorn refreshing of the page: there it was! A reply to her own! Greedily she ate up the words, about the school, about the family, the state-side meetings, the beauty of a place she’d never been and all the questions he had for her.
Ecstatic about the response she wrote a second reply for the day–longer, more convoluted and more open. Perhaps it would be too much, too soon in the early correspondence. But he had asked and she would answer. He had a daughter of his own, he served in ministry most of his life, surely he wouldn’t mind her mentioning a few questions about God and ministry. If anyone could understand, surely he would be one for the job. So she wrote back, clicked “send” with a little more confidence and then waited.
She went to work, went to a friend’s, drank too much coffee and drove home far too late in the evening amid hail becoming snow. And when she arrived at home, what sat there, waiting for her? A newsletter about the school that she had requested, complete with pictures of smiling children and a list of ways to serve.
A most discouraging morning ended with a most encouraging night. Becuase Uncle Wally wrote me, totally out of hte blue, and totally unhindered by the fact that I had broken up with Anthony–who is almost a part of Wally’s family. I could have cried, I could have jumped for joy. I told Ghena about it over coffee tonight, laughing about other things and feeling the ache of the stitches on my temple. And I was so humbled and honoured that Uncle Wally and Aunt Joan are praying and thinking of me–all the way from Papua.