Friday, August 31, 2012

I got mail!!!!

To me, there is still something magical about opening the mailbox and finding a letter with my name on it. Not a bill, mind you. Not a political solicitation or a "prize" notice...

A letter.

Meant for me.

Straight from the heart of another human being...from someone who sat down with a pen and paper and decided to share a bit of themselves with me.

It does happen, on occasion, and usually from one of my Compassion assisted kids. Today was a mail day, and I practically danced when I saw the envelope marked "A Message From Your Sponsored Child." I ripped it open, anxious for news. It was a first letter from 17 year old Estanly in Honduras, a letter written before my visit to him in June. His words reminded me intensely of his strong, quiet, observant nature that I had already had the privilege of seeing in person. I've read it about six times already. The line, "You are a very good hearted person when you thought on me and you sponsored me" plays over and over in my mind. I wish Estanly could see my pleasure.

I decided to experiment with mail. I write a lot of letters. As sponsor to now 14 kids with Compassion International, monthly mailings are getting to be a tad bit more involved. We spend a lot of time brainstorming over flat paper items to send to our kids, a lot of time putting together personalized packets that will deliver a message of value and worth to these very real extensions of our family. Here lately, my kids have taken an interest in the process. They will come and sticker with me or color a picture or design a craft. Something about the look on one of their little faces one time gave me an idea.

I write letters to my kids why not write letters to the kids in my own living room?

Why not take a minute to fill a page with all the reasons why I love them, with how I am proud of them?

Why not draw a picture of something they love or tell them about something new?

Why not, for once, get to see the delight on a child's face when a package arrives, filled with a personalized stash of goodies, inscribed with all the love in my heart?

Why not indeed.

So I did it. I wrote my babies a letter. I made them each a sweet little lapbook (more on those later) filled with some of the things they like best. I put them each in a big envelope and addressed them to my little people. I surreptitiously sneaked to the mailbox and stowed the surprises.

Coming back in, I casually asked, "Hey Jonathan. Did you get the mail today?"

Jonathan: "Yes. You know I did."

Me: "No, Jonathan. Did you get the MAIL today?" (accompanied by a big wink and a nod in the kid's direction)

Jonathan: "Ohhh. I guess I need to check it. Can anyone help me?"

To which the obvious response was a mad rush to the door by Leah, Benjamin, and Lori.

If any of our neighbors noticed, they must have thought we were crazy...a family of five checking the mail together at 9:30 at night. Benjamin was only wearing underwear, which would normally have bothered me...but my excitement told me to let him have this moment without correction.

When they opened the mailbox, it took them a minute to realize that its contents was for them. They all recognize their own name, though, so when the reality of the situation hit, you would have thought it was Christmas! Leah came running to me, screaming , "Mommy! Mommy! I got a LETTER!
They ripped open the yellow envelopes like a birthday present and for the next hour, savored the contents.

My friends, it was sweet.

It is always sweet to delight the heart of a child. I don't get to witness the response from my sponsored children when they open their monthly mailings, but I can't imagine that the scene differs a whole lot from the little scene in my living room. I don't get to watch them rip open the envelopes and spend days reading and re-reading my messages, looking at each item, days later, calling a word or phrase of encouragement to mind. My kids see me every day; love is communicated to them in a hundred ways each day. For my sponsored kids, letters are a link. When I don't write, I miss an opportunity to lavish a little love on a soul hungry and thirsty for value and affection. When I don't write to my own children, I miss out on an extra chance to lavish worth on them. From now on, my mailing list will have 17 names on it instead of 14, and each month, I will be reminded, encouraged, by my own little ones of why I do what I do.

I'll be reminded, too, of the delight in my Father's heart when I rip into the letter He wrote for me, when I absorb and savor each delectable word, when I call His words to mind each and every day. I'll remember as I read, "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy words were unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart..."--Jeremiah 15:16