I put the baby to bed and I crept down the stairs, quiet as quiet. I slipped out the door with the excuses of getting the mail, leaving Brian and my in-laws to the older two tinies, to the teeth brushing and the jammie-getting, the one-more-glass-of-water-please and look-mummy-I-found-another-boogie negotiations.

It’s truly autumn and I am breathing deep of freedom, of cool evenings, of cardigans and twilight dimming before the supper dishes are cleared. I walked around our neighbourhood, just shoved my hands into my pockets and walked lazy, taking the longest way I knew to take to the mailbox. No apologies, when the house is full, I crave the solitude by six and I disappear to the stars coming out or to my book. Even if it’s just for these fifteen minutes of evening sky gazing, this is me, being a person, making space for joy.

There was a letter waiting there for me from my friend. I slit the envelope, dandered along the road, reading it by the light of the streetlights winking on. I love to write letters and I love to receive letters and, in this age of email, if there is one delight, it’s spotting an envelope in the slot with my name in pen instead of typography, a real live person on the other end instead of a machine calculating how much i owe them this month. Words of life are words of love, of being seen.

Maybe there is a ministry to handwritten letters and twilight walks. Isn’t that the way of things – approach a leader to first ask for permission to be a minister, be trained, create a page on the website, pick a dynamic name for it? Maybe I could write a strategic plan and procure a marketing budget. Maybe I could organize and recruit a team, make sure that there is a policy and procedure for doing it right. We could prescribe walks to take that will best nourish the soul and we will create a revolution of twilight letter writing and reading. We could reach so many.

Or perhaps, I will simply come home and, in a few days, write my friend back.

Perhaps this is the way of it, the way to leave behind the idea that loving well is an official thing, best left to others, simply writing a cheque to the professionals. Perhaps I will be a person, see the person, make space for God, for truth, for beauty, for passion, for intentional love in my everyday, walking around world. Take the words of Mother Teresa and write them on a letter to myself, put a stamp on it and mail it. A few days later, I’ll open the mail box and walk along in the twilight, reading the letter and the words will say, “If you can’t feed thousands, feed one. Do small acts with great love.” 


Perhaps I will be a person instead of a ministry.

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In which it's time to choose tough love
In which I'm an uneasy pacifist
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  • {sigh} – I miss handwriting letters.  Wanna be pen pals? xxx

  • Sarah, I love this. And I would love to write you real letters in pen with stamps.

  • I crave solitude often also. A quiet walk in the evening sounds absolutely peaceful. Handwritten letters are almost a lost art aren’t they? Love how you remind me that people are not a ministry, but persons to be loved and served. 

    • They are absolutely a lost art. I wonder when the last handwritten letters will be sometimes.

  • I echo Mary’s sigh.  Lovely words and I too would gladly be your pen pal!

  • I like your description of the meandering. My patterns are like that especially on the weekends.

    Whether ministry is “organic” or “systemic”, we all need that personal touch as well as intentional planning. For most of us, I think if we took more time to reflectively respond to things that bother us, then more would be accomplished for our communties both locally and globally.

  • A- to the -men, sister. Makes me think of the time a pastor asked my husband and me what program we were using to disciple a college student. “Uh, we have her over for dinner and hang out and talk and love her?”

    The response to that, sadly, was not positive.

    • That is too bad – and not surprising, sadly. Well done, Louise.

  • You know I’m with you on this one!

  • Shauna

    I love it!  Thank you for this.

  • So very lovely and so rich with truth.

  • DaphneDanaraj

    Handwritten letters speak to a place in my heart that is so deep inside that I hardly know it’s there. Your words are beautiful. “Perhaps I will be  a person instead of a ministry.” Thank you for that!

  • What a lovely evening wander. Thanks. The idea of writing (real) letters is entrancing.