I was blessed to have a pen-pal from my childhood. Probably around 6th grade I started writing to my new friend in Alabama. We were paired off as pen-pals after being a part of The Sandi Patti Friendship Company. My pen-pal, Tressa, and I share the same birthdays and faith. It was a match made in Heaven. We wound up sharing plenty of letters, cards and pictures through the years. When she got married, I taped a love song for her wedding which I believe was played in her ceremony and news of this was shared in their hometown paper. When I got married, she and I met for the very first time. She bravely flew to NY and was one of my beautiful bridesmaids. We went through a lot of life together all through the letters we would send. Milestones like the birth of a child, graduations, holidays, and everyday life were met with friendly greetings and well-wishes back and forth. Somewhere between all of the words, Tressa became a sister to me. Yes, she was my sister in the Lord, but when you share so much with a friend for decades, that friendship turns deeper.
In 2018, I received a letter from her informing me that the breast cancer she had seven years ago had returned in some of her bones. She spoke lovingly about all of her family members as she was able to cover two loose leaf sheets of paper back-to-back with as much information about her family and health as she could muster. Between all the updates on her family, it was clear that Tressa’s health had taken a scary turn.
The pandemic hit and years of silence ensued. I had heard of bad weather hitting the South and wondered if their home was OK. How was her health? Silence. Silence. Silence.
And then on April 17th, 2023 at night, my son Daniel found out from the computer that my dear Tressa had died in 2019. She had died four months after what I believe was my last letter from her. She had a long battle with breast cancer. I cried so much for my cherished friend…a true southern belle. She loved her family, but most of all she loved her Lord. And I loved having a friend, a sister like her.
The letters that she wrote to me are a powerful reminder of the power of the written word. I am blessed with tangible evidence as my brother said to me on the phone when he was comforting me of her love. I’m so glad that because she knew Christ as her Savior that I will see her one day in Heaven. I never made it to Alabama. But I will meet her again in Glory.
Until then, I am heartbroken over the loss of my friend but comforted by another letter…a letter from my Heavenly Father that says to me in John 14:1-3, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
I’m so grateful for Christ’s love letter to us. It is tangible evidence of God’s love for the whole world. On my desk sits my Bible and Tressa’s probably last letter to me. Both are precious. My Bible assures me I will see my friend again…cancer free. Amen.
Take this blog post a few steps further:
Think of someone who could use some communication with you.
What letter could you write to let them know of your love for them?
If you have small children, maybe you will want to get them involved in being pen-pals with someone else from another church, another culture, or another country.
What amazing truth have you read from God’s letter to you today?
One thought on “Write the Letter”
This beautiful post brought tears to my eyes — both tears of sadness AND tears of joy! Thanks for sharing the story — both the human aspect and the Divine aspect were valuable, and ministered to me.