It’s no secret that the Martin mailbox can be as erratic as the Alabama weather. We go days and never get the first parcel. It frustrates me when the box is empty. Then the drought ends and our mailbox will be crammed full. It is ironic and almost comical because I love mail. I love junk mail. It’s true, one of the quirky things about me. The junk mail is a little bit like a gleam of sunshine in my day. When I’m expecting a letter, I’ve been known to put something to mail in the mailbox, raise the flag, and watch for it to be lowered just so I know when the outgoing is exchanged for the incoming. It is an oddity I know, just one of those weird things about myself I’ve learned to embrace rather than change, fight, or feel defeated over.
So the afternoon I opened the mailbox and found a letter addressed to me, I smiled.
I surveyed the envelope. I knew the handwriting, another oddity, I connect people with their penmanship. It’s weird. Years of paper charting and public education aided in honing this craft. Before I’d surveyed the return address I knew the Sender.
The Sender had scratched through and scribbled my address a time or two, clear evidence of the gypsy life Scott Martin and I have lived the last several years. I opened the unexpected card to find a glitter embellished scene of a table. The sort of random card one might find at a DollaStore. I opened to read an assortment of life events and details. The Sender was catching me up as it’d been a while since we had seen each other, an invitation to get together, a recent doctor visit yielding a tragic and debilitating diagnosis.
I reread the words, I paused, standing at the end of my driveway, my heart ached, sentence fragments filled my head. Too young. Why? Help must help. No. Too sad. Tragic. Words filled my brain, silence filled my mouth. Nothingness gave way to a gasp and I continued to read on.
The Sender had asked me to pray. She knows I will, that I do. I continued reading and at the end of it The Sender expressed love and gratitude and a familiar signature followed by
“It is well with My Soul.”
Stunned. I stood there, tears filled my eyes and the fragments hung over me like poorly placed photo booth props.
As I tucked the card back into its envelope, I was careful not to divulge what I had just read. I thought about the writer of that song, one I’ve known since childhood and how he penned those words after tragic and seemingly senseless loss. I imagined him standing atop an Atlantic crossing ocean liner and how the very waves of sorrow rolled like the waves below. “It is well with my soul.” I’ve pondered on that many times in recent history. When trouble and tragedy seem to be around every corner. The loss of a loved one, A wayward child. Job troubles, financial distress, uncertainty about the future, fear and anxieties abound. That morning, as my heart is heavy, my words inadequate. I knew this, the prayers are many for the broken-hearted, and my words are few. This I know for certain, I can trust that King is near, and in Him alone it is well and Hope abounds.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.” Isaiah 43:1-2