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.