There are certain things that we all have a hard time throwing out. For me, it’s letters. Last week, I read through two boxes of letters that I had saved from my time in Eastern Europe. These are treasures to me. Hand-written missives are a thing of the past, and I’m so glad I lived to experience the permanence of thoughts written down rather than texted and forgotten. Opening each one has been a slow process, but very rewarding. I am left with the confidence that I am rich in friends, although most are far, far away and some have even gone on to be with the Lord already. As I skim these letters, I’m reminded of how well-loved I’ve been and I’m thankful to God for these dear ones.
Most of you reading this blog have read my book, or at least are planning to read it. When I went home to the States in 1991 before returning to Eastern Europe long-term, I corresponded with all my Romanian friends, the very people named in my book. Last week, I unearthed letters from the girls from the salt-in-the-tea incident, Mariana, Irina, and Mihaela. Each wrote “I wait you” above their names. Corina and Daniela penned “I wait your return;” while Noemi, Cristina, and Tereza wrote “I wait you news.” I even found a banner in my box and unfurled it, displaying the words “Te asteptam.” Translation: “We wait you.” It was given to me by my friends in Bucharest when I moved to Cluj. I felt as though I’d discovered ancient artifacts that proved the existence of a long-forgotten civilization, or at least proved the validity of my grammatically-incorrect title.
In the end, there were a few letters too dear to ever part with. But for the rest, why save them? No one is going to gather them up after I’m gone and write a book about my life; I’ve already done that. No, I was able to relive some precious memories, shed some healing tears, and then lovingly place the missives in the recycle bin as though I was burying a beloved friend. A friend whose soul will never be forgotten.