I walked through the crowded terminal, already exhausted from the cab ride, security lines, heavy bags, and lack of food. I hadn’t planned well. I searched for a place to sit (silently cursing all the travelers who were creating buffers with their bags), and after passing my gate, I sank into the first vacant seat.
I reached down into my tote bag and pulled out the letter. I was told to wait until later to read it. I had time to kill. This felt like later.
I opened the envelope and pulled out a card. There was a second, smaller envelope which I put aside for the moment. The card was sturdy and the writing was large and clear enough to see without my glasses. I began to read…
My week had been a combination of highs and lows. Joyful, fun moments punctuated by loss. My emotions were already raw.
It was as if the pen used to write that letter was filled with love instead of ink, and now as I touched the paper it permeated my skin and traveled directly to my heart. The love in that letter was so strong that I caught my breath and then audibly sobbed. A woman next to me asked if I was alright. Then she noticed the painting propped against my leg. I took a deep breath and told her about the painting and the artist and the meaning it held for me. She had a caring face and I stopped just short of telling her about my entire week. I appreciated the distraction.
I asked her if she would watch my bags while I went to get a bottle of water and some crackers. When I returned, I felt strong enough to read the entire letter. As I read it, I let myself cry because I knew stopping would be impossible. I finished, and I knew that I would need to read that letter again. And then a third time. But for now, I couldn’t see for the tears in my eyes.
I knew from the letter what was inside the smaller envelope. I didn’t open it then. I knew I wanted to open it later, when I read the letter again. I sent a quick text of gratitude to the author. But I knew that I needed to write a much longer letter. More than a thank-you letter, I wanted to convey how powerful those words were. How much they meant to me. How perfectly timed they were. How I don’t take compliments well, but that those compliments were put in such a way that I was able to absorb them.
To the author: I apologize for taking so long to write this, but every time I thought I had a moment to open that envelope and read all of it – for the first time again – I found myself busy or distracted. And then once I did, I simply became too emotional to write this. But here it is: I may never be able to tell you how much that letter meant to me. Means to me. But know that I love you and cherish our friendship. You are a beautiful human, and everyone who knows you is better for it. You approach everything with such love and your spirit is contagious. And you listen without judgement. That may be the most important quality in a friend. Truly. I am lucky to be a part of your life. And regarding the smaller envelope. I cherish its contents. And while I may not have been there before, I got the map. And some day soon I will pick the perfect day and plan to be there at sunset.
I am lucky beyond words to have people in my life who love me. And nothing makes me happier than to love them right back.
Dear Readers, tell the people you love that you love them. But more than that, tell them WHY you love them. Tell them all the beautiful things about them that make them special… to you and to the rest of the world. Those words will become a night light for times when their souls are in darkness.