I love walking the path through the city park on an early fall day. The trees are alive with colors of bright orange, red and gold. Some leaves are stubbornly clinging to the branches against a blue sky, but some are brave enough to let go and dance with the wind over a, still green, carpet of grass.
As I walked along the path mymood was interrupted as a gust of wind formed an eddy that lifted a piece of white, rumpled, lined notebook paper from the wire basket meant to be the home for unwanted items of those passing by on the path. The bright white paper landed directly at my feet and as I bent over to retrieve this rogue piece of paper and return it to it’s rightful home the greeting at the top of the paper, “My Dear Charlie” in beautiful cursive writing, seemed to beckon me “continue reading”.
The message to Charlie seemed to be a farewell message. Not like a “Dear John” letter but one of painful defeat, frustration and retreat into solitude by someone who wanted to “disappear”, to “go where no one even knows my name.”, to “not have to get up one more morning and be looked at in disgust by you (Charlie) and be told I am a worthless. I want to go to a place where I am not made to feel unworthy to be taking up space in this world.” As I read the letter I could feel the anguish, fear and doubt. I could see the tears and hear the questioning as to whether these labels were valid. However, this letter revealed a spark of courage, a desire to be free of the verbal battering of self esteem on a daily basis.
But, the letter was unfinished, in the wire basket, not signed and never sent. It was torn from the notebook, crumpled and tossed. Did the writer ultimately buy into the lies and manipulation by one who made himself judge and jury, condemning another to a life of defeat and feelings of being worthless, hopeless and void of any self esteem? Is there a soul wandering somewhere convinced this is the final analysis of their life, not worth keeping, to be torn, crumpled and tossed in the garbage. Or is there another letter, signed, sealed and delivered?
I long to find the author and to let them know there is value in their life. I want to tell them “Charlie is wrong!” I want to tell them how God sees value in every person. I long for them to feel loved, appreciated for who they are and valued.
I will be walking in the park again and I will enjoy the beauty of God’s creation but I will also be watching for someone with a notebook and when I find them I will encourage them to write another story. A story of hope, strength and healing. And then I will be writing another story written in my own notebook!