For the last year the daily ritual of visiting yon mailbox has been an exercise in connection to family, friends and loved ones. Hardly a day has gone by since my wife’s cancer diagnosis when she hasn’t received one, two, or three get well cards, gift certificates, or personal letters. I continue to be in awe of the impact my wife has had on so many people in so many ways, proven by this continuous flow of love, prayers, and well-wishes… so much so that it has been like blood pumping through a major artery – the artery of the soul. And this constant stream of love and support has provided the ‘oxygen’ which keeps our faith, attitude, and humility alive… humility in that so many can love someone so well.
Today I went to the mailbox and for the first time in a year, instead of getting a pile of sweet somethings from friends, family, and loved ones, with “Laura Navarro” inscribed on the address line, they read “Anthony Navarro”.
Wow… that was different.
It was kind of an epiphany, now that we no longer need to encourage Laura in her fighting the good fight that the current journey is now about my moving on in this new stage of my life… singlehood; widowhood; bachelorhood. For a time now I will be occupied with the business of closing accounts, of putting my house in order, of making what was once “reservations for two” in every detail of life to planning things by myself. For Myself.
However, I am reminded, through the mailbox, the Tardis of the current day which moves messages magically through space and time, that I am not alone. I am not the only one who has a Laura-shaped hole cut out from my heart. I was reminded of this on Sunday, watching the choir as the front row was filled with beautiful ladies with red-rimmed eyes and as the stalwart men on the back row maintained strained expressions as they sang this week’s anthem with a noticeable gap, like a high key missing from a piano. I was reminded before worship as aisle by aisle I was hugged and encouraged on my way to my seat. I was blessed by this week’s sermon as was so many as God’s Word spoke to us and as we concluded worship, singing Amazing Grace before exiting our sanctuary as we then re-entered the fray to be salt and light to a world in need of that light.
It is good that we have instant messaging. It is good that we have email. And it is very good to receive those tangible messages made from wood pulp, glue, and ink which have traversed a scant few or perhaps thousands of miles to uplift a soul wounded by a Laura-shaped hole in their heart.
Wounds leave scars. Scars remind us of significant events from our past. And though some wounds need ointments and sutures to close and heal, this wound, this hole, is being filled with wood pulp, glue, and ink, knit together by the love of those who send them.