A few minutes ago I was looking through a cabinet in my office when I found a letter. The letter was dated June 17, 1997. Years back my family and I were featured in Farm and Ranch magazine, and we received hundreds of letters from families all over the United States. I saved each letter in a big file folder, but one letter I’ve always kept in arms reach.
The letter was from a man named Bob “Sunshine”. He wrote to me and wanted to send me a big check so I could buy something nice for me and my family. I wrote him back and told him about a friend of mine who had lost her son to cancer, and if he didn’t mind, I wanted to give her the money to help with the funeral expenses.
He wrote me back, but when he did… this is what he said, (In the exact way he wrote it!)
DEAR DEAR GINA:
FINALLLLLLLLY I FOUND YOUR KIND LONG LETTER ABOUT YOUR FRIEND WHO LOST HER CHILD. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT OR DAWN AND HASTEN TO WRITE TO THE FAMILY. PLEASE BE PATIENT WITH MY HORRIBLE OLD EYES AND FORWARD THIS LETTER TO THE FAMILY AFTER YOU READ, SEAL AND APPROVE IT?? IT’S IN BAD TASTE THEN YOU CAN SEND IT ALL BACK AND WON’T BOTHER YOU ANY MORE.
OTHERWISE I’D LIKE TO KNOW A LITTLE MORE ABOUT THE PARENTS. WHERE DOES HE WORK? WHAT DOES HE DO? NO GROUP INSURANCE? NO FAMILY PLAN? I CAN HELP EVEN MORE THAN THE $700.00 ALREADY SENT. THERE ARE ANOTHER MILLION CRYING NEEDS “OUT THERE” ASKING ALL OF US FOR MORE… MORE… MORE… AND FRANKLY MY FIRST LOVE ARE THE LITTLE ORPHANED STREET CHILDREN OF CALCUTTA INDIA WHERE THEIR DAD MAY HAVE PUSHED A GO CART ALL DAY LONG FOR .50 CENTS A DIME THERE WILL MORE THAN DO THE WORK OF A $1.00 HERE (USA) SO WHILE MY INCOME HAS BEEN BLESSED AND BLESSED THE FACT THAT THE WORLD’S NEEDS ARE BILLIONS OF TIMES MORE. BUT WE ARE ALLLLLLLL BEING TESTED AND TESTED AND LIKE ONE OF MY DEAREST CHURCH GIRLS FRIEND SAID “I BELIEVE THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND I’LL DO ANYTHING TO HELP OTHERS!”
LIKE YOU SHE’S A GREAT… GREAT… FRIEND. SO MAYBE SOMEDAY THE WORLD WILL STOP LOOKING IN THEIR CLOSETS TO SEE WHAT THEY DON’T HAVE, BUT WILL FIND SOMETHING THEY DON’T WANT AND WILL BE ABLE TO GIVE IT AWAY.
ENCLOSED I AM SENDING YOU COPIES OF MY TRUE WEALTH. LETTERS FROM MY CHILDREN OVER THE YEARS SHARING THEIR GREAT LOVE FOR ME. AS YOU CAN READ IN THE CARDS, I AM THE RICHEST MAN ON EARTH. I CARE NOT ABOUT THE POSITIONS THAT I HAVE, BUT THE CHILDREN THAT WERE GIVEN TO ME.
GINA, YOUR GOOD, KIND THOUGHTFUL LETTER ARRIVED YESTERDAY ON MONDAY AND I READ IT TWICE AND MY WIFE MADE THRICE BUT THIS A.M. WE NEITHER CAN FIND IT ANYWHERE IN THIS ENTIRE HOUSE TO ADDRESS THE CHECK TO THE FAMILY YOU WANT MONEY TO GO TO, SO I HAVE MADE THE CHECK OUT TO YOU. I AM SENDING YOU MORE BECAUSE YOU TOOK THE TIME TO WRITE ME A LETTER AND THANK ME FOR THE LITTLE MONEY I SENT YOU BEFORE, AND WHERE YOU WANTED IT TO GO. THERE IS SORT OF A GOOD/BAD HABIT GIVEN TO ME TO ANSWER PEOPLE WHO EXPRESS GRATITUDE BY MERELY DOUBLING THE BENEFIT SINCE PROVIDENCE QUADRUPLES NEARLY ALL MY LITTLE WORKS.
AND BECAUSE YOU WERE SUCH A FAITHFUL FRIEND PLEASE GIVE THE MONEY, BUT SHARE THAT IT CAME FROM YOU. YOU ACCEPT CREDIT. I’LL ACCEPT THE WRITE OFF… I HAVE LIVED OVER 80 YEARS, AND NOT SURE HOW MUCH LONGER THE GOOD LORD WILL GIVE, BUT I HAVE LEARNED THAT ALL THINGS IN LIFE WORK OUT, AND THAT WHEN PEOPLE REACH OUT TO HELP OTHERS IT HELPS GOD FEED THE POOR, SHELTER THE HOMELESS AND LOVE FILLS THEIR HEART AND STRESS LEAVES THE BODY.
GINA, PLEASE JUST DON’T FORGET YOUR FRIEND WHO WILL ONE DAY BE BUT A MEMORY IN THE SHADOW OF MY DEATH… BUT MY HANDWRITTEN LETTER WILL REMAIN WITHIN YOUR REACH BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE HEART THAT KNOWS THAT PEOPLE IMPRINT YOUR HEART. THANK YOU FOR IMPRINTING MINE. I DON’T KNOW IF I WILL EVER MEET YOU ON EARTH, BUT I WILL ONE DAY SEE YOU IN HEAVEN, HERE IS A POEM FOR YOU THAT MAYBE ONE DAY YOU WILL SHARE IT WITH OTHERS AND A VERSE. THE POEM IS WRITTEN BY HELEN STEINER RICE AND GOES…
NEW BEGINNINGS… HOW OFTEN WE WISH FOR ANOTHER CHANCE TO MAKE A FRESH BEGINNING, A CHANCE TO BLOT OUT OUR MISTAKES AND CHANGE FAILURE INTO WINNING. AND IT DOES NOT TAKE A NEW YEAR TO MAKE A BRAND-NEW START, IT ONLY TAKES THE DEEP DESIRE TO TRY WITH ALL OUR HEART, TO LIVE A LITTLE BETTER AND TO ALWAYS BE FORGIVING, TO ADD A LITTLE “CHRISTIAN LOVE” TO THE WORLD IN WHICH WE’RE LIVING. SO NEVER GIVE UP IN DESPAIR AND THINK THAT YOU ARE THROUGH, FOR THERES ALWAYS A TOMORROW AND A CHANCE TO START ANEW.
HERE’ S THE VERSE GINA, REMEMBER IT ALWAYS…
“THEREFORE IF ANY MAN BE IN CHRIST, HE IS A NEW CREATURE: OLD THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY; BEHOLD ALL THINGS BECOME NEW.” II Corinthians 5:17
Today is the day that God wanted me to share Bob, and his loving words. Bob is no longer alive, but his words will remain forever inscribed within my heart. I never did take credit for the money, but he will forever be imprinted in my heart, and he was able to bless two families. One with the money, and one with friendship.
If you read this today… Whose heart are you going to make an imprint on?
Onward by faith!