You might be sick, but you’re not useless.

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A friend of mine recently sent me a link to the Wikipedia page of Laura Hillenbrand. The name, at first, meant nothing to me, and I wasn’t sure why she’d sent it, but as I read, something jumped out at me, and I knew it was what she wanted me to see:

“Hillenbrand’s first book was the acclaimed Seabiscuit: An American Legend (2001), a nonfiction account of the career of the great racehorse Seabiscuit, for which she won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year in 2001…Hillenbrand suffers from severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and remains largely confined to her home.”

I am not confined to my home, but I do know the debilitating weight of this illness; the way in which it seems to strangle your talents and potential. And yet, I find in Hillenbrand’s life the inspiration that sick people don’t have to feel useless.

To recount all the blessings I have encountered not despite, but because of my illness would take thousands of words, but I too have discovered that even sick people have a purpose and calling from God. We may not all be great writers, but God does not leave his Children without gifts to use for the building up of the church.

So if you’re sick, or tired or you find yourself in circumstances that you never would have chosen, do not, on top of all that, despair that you have no earthly use or purpose.

A Love Affair with Letters

Photo Credit: AusPost Ad Campaign

I’ve always loved letters; real ones of course, on real paper written with a real pen. As a child I had various pen pals. We used to send each other stickers and cheap necklaces, cramming as much into the envelope as we could, anticipating the day when the reply would arrive; a treasure in the mailbox.

In high school, my friends and I used to write each other letters; copious sheets of A4 note paper, containing secrets about boys and folded into tiny packages to be passed discreetly beneath desks.

As email rose to power the traditional letter gradually faded like a flower, and I would hardly know how long it’s been since I received one, that is, until last night.

Church was about to start when a long-time friend of mine handed me an envelope. Accustomed to receiving various birthday invites at church, I quickly opened it, only to discover two sheets of lined paper torn out of a notebook, covered with hand written words. Even before I read it I was touched. After I read it, I was speechless. This friend had taken the time out to write me a letter of encouragement; telling me that she was thinking of me and of ways in which I had inspired and encouraged her, and she’d done it, quite intentionally, by hand.

I was reminded, once again of the beauty of this almost-lost art.

This week, why not encourage someone with a hand written letter? I’m going to.