Thursday, February 26, 2009


Once a week I write a letter to my nephew who is currently imprisoned in the NYS Correctional System. He will be there for the next 15 years.

A single visit opened my eyes to the barrenness of the life set before him. Suddenly the manifold distractions of living in this culture have been stripped away; he spends endless hours on his bunk, reading the few books in his possession.

So I assume a handwritten letter is a treasure, a touch from outside those walls, a glimpse into some aspect of real life, the world left behind. As I write, I include daily happenings, boring to you and me, but painting the details of the picture in his mind. If I were him, I would finger the paper, delighting in knowing that a family member who loves me and prays for me held it in their hand just days ago. I would read and reread each line, slowly considering each implication, imagining each scenario as though I had been there. I would allow myself to be transported beyond the walls into that home where once, in summers gone by, I freely wandered and roamed.

I like writing the letter. As I write I see these happenings as more precious than ever, because I see them as he might. I savor the joy, the emotion, the tenderness. I consider the freedom, the choice, the leisure, the work. These are gifts to enjoy today.

Who knows what will be ours tomorrow? Don't worry about that -- it is in His hand -- just live wisely today.

A weekly letter. Such a small thing to do. Such great blessing it brings, to me and to him.