That thought came to mind as I was composing this letter. Even if there isn't, there's definitely a dead letter story that really speaks to us. I thought I could narrow it down to one or two, but it's impossible. But for sure, I can relate to Shane, Oliver, Norman and Rita. They love their work and each other. How many people can say that? Nine years ago I felt that way. But that changed. The person I shared "I Do's" with unexpectedly leaves me. Not only did he leave me, but he turned his back on God. So I can totally relate to Oliver, standing at the Pony Express exhibit at the National Postal Museum, turning around and not seeing his wife. You think little of it at first, but then later you get a message. His leaving took a toll on my health. I had to let go of things I loved to do. I went through an anger and depression phase. I experienced panic attacks and isolation.
I think the proper term for what I struggled with is PTSD. Normally this disorder is associated with war veterans, but it's not just inclusive to them. So I can totally relate to Topper. There were times I had to leave the grocery store because I couldn't stand crowds. My mind would go in a panic. It's hard to describe if you've not experienced it. My husband leaving me started a "war" inside my head and heart. When the Bible says "two's better than one", it's the truth. I felt incomplete. Like Topper needed Sandy to heal his heart and quiet the war going on in his head, I needed to wake up to the sunrise and see my husband beside me. But that didn't happen.
Like Norman, whose parents gave him up, you wonder if they ever really loved you. What's wrong with me? Did I deserve this? When you go through a separation or a divorce, it's so easy to blame the other person. Then I started to examine my motives. I didn't realize that I was praying mainly for what God can do for me or what I was hoping my husband would do. Like Dale says, "we don't pray to change God. We pray to change ourselves". That's when He opened my eyes and I saw my own faults.
Three years into our separation, he said he wanted a divorce. Initially I shouted "Thank you, Jehovah!" But I still wasn't happy with his request. I still wondered why. I wanted peace and closure, but not like this. I don't believe in divorce just on any grounds. A few years would pass until I got an answer. Sometimes I wonder why God allowed so much time to pass before I got an answer. Then I think that maybe my faith wasn't strong enough, and he was teaching me how to forgive like He does. He was teaching me how to love like He does.
Even though the past 8 years has been no "porch swing" for me, the trials have taught me so much about myself, life and those I choose to be in my life. I've learned to "trust the timing". I didn't get answers when I wanted them, but I never stopped praying. And you never know where your answers will come from. I'm sure Oliver would've never thought that Shane would be an answered prayer. But as he says, "A seed knows not the flower, or it's blooming day." I try to see this new chapter as an adventure. Like Rita, I try to keep the beautiful moments photographed in my mind. Just as each dead letter takes us on a beautiful journey, I anticipate what each day will bring.
The Living Letters series will continue as long as there are stories to share. If you would like to contribute something about how Signed, Sealed, Delivered has impacted your life that you'd be willing to share here on A&D, feel free to email me.