Sunday, March 11, 2012

Surprised by Joy

Iris walks into the house, her arms loaded down with mail. It's not that we just received a bushel of bills; it's just that we live so far out in the sticks that the post office doesn't deliver to our house. So we have post office box in town and we visit it rather infrequently.

Half way through the stack of bills, advertisements, magazines and papers, Iris uncovers a rare a item, at least in our house. It's a letter and it's addressed to me. I look at the return address an see that it's from Nancy Allen. Nancy's the mom of Sarah, my son Luke's wife.

I open the envelope. Iris plops down next to me to see what it says. I read Nancy's letter aloud. It's a condolence note regarding the death of my friend Jonathan. Although Nancy only briefly met Jonathan at Luke's wedding, her note touches me deeply, bringing a deep sense of joy and gratitude.

I wanted to share it with you.

Dear Mark,
I hope this letter is finding you well. I am writing to acknowledge the loss of your good friend Jonathan.

May I express myself from Luke's telling of your relationship with Jonathan.

May every reminder of Jonathan be one of great joy for the good fortune that you've experienced in your heartfelt, cerebral friendship. Whether earnestly working on a project together or playfully tipping the world off its axis, you've shared the delight of being able to express, listen and exchange in rich conversation.

May I compare your relationship to a full-bodied glass of wine, complex and full of character, a collage of flavor, especially well balanced with a long-lasting finish. Or perhaps a vibrant tennis match, swing for swing, full of strength, energy and enthusiasm, and when the game is finished you can surely say, "Now that was a fine match!"

Sincerely, Nancy

I feel that sense of gratitude and joy each time I read the note.

Thank you, Nancy.

Happy Sunday,

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