Saturday, November 24, 2012

A long ago letter

I recently wrote THIS post on the delight of getting mail.....real snail mail....and many of you agreed that it is a delight and should be done more often.

In that same week our new Pastor at our new church (who had been the youth pastor at St Johns Shaughnessy when I was a youth and visiting Canada for 8 months back in 1988) told me he had a letter to show me.

He mentioned this letter again in passing and said I would enjoy reading it.

I was intrigued and a little worried.

And then one Sunday a couple weeks ago he handed me a letter I had written from South Africa to him here in Canada in 1989.

I didn't want to open it.  My heart was literally hammering as I imagined what my 19 year old self could have written.

I extracted the letter, written on that familiar thin airmail paper, saw my still familiar handwriting, took a deep breath and began to fall through a time warp to 1989.

So.very. interesting.

To my relief the writing was coherent and intelligent if full of the intensity and angst of a 19 year old feeling oddly displaced after a year of international travel and living in a country blowing apart.

It was clear I was missing Vancouver

How funny to see a vow made 23 years ago be so completely fulfilled although at the time of writing it I could not have even dreamed that it would have happened.

Also so hard to be drawn back into the emotional maelstrom of what 1989 was like in South Africa

Those were dark and scary days.......the country was on a knife edge.....change was being demanded...there was hope for a different future at the same time as desperation that it could ever be peacefully found.  It was terrifying at times but there was a certain energy you get from living in turmoil that I have never felt since...... not that I miss it....just that when you are in that turmoil it normalizes somewhat and when you come out of it...move away to a peaceful, safe place.... the calm and quiet is disquietening at first and can seem bland after a while.

Sitting in the pew at St Johns Richmond - reading the words
in my letter from so long ago felt very I had just completed a full circle....that maybe I was home now, here.

That the plan for my life is unfolding as it was meant it should.

When my heart quit hammering and I had time to ponder it all I felt amazed at the journey my life has been thus incredibly grateful for a faith that has been a constant refuge through the mountains and valleys I have traveled.

I felt gratitude for innumerable people, places, experiences, jobs, moments that have filled my life.

And then as I was slipping the letter back in the envelope I saw the stamp.

I cannot be old enough to have licked a stamp that only cost 16c for international airmail can I?

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