Monday, August 14, 2006

Somewhere In A Nursing Home In Prince George, B.C.

An 87 year old woman was sitting alone.

Recently widowed, recently moved from her own, old, familiar home.

Feeling unnecessary. 

Feeling lonely.

A burden.

Restlessly, she began to rummage in a drawer.



She finds a letter.

More than twenty years ago this letter was sent.

She reads it again and remembers.

She was a European immigrant after the war. Making her way, with her young husband, in  a new country. They found a place; a new home. They joined a Church. She became a Sunday School teacher.

One Christmas she decided to teach the children a Carol from her heart.

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht. Alles schlaft, einsam wacht nur das traute, hochheilige Paar, das im Stalle zu Bethlehem war bei dem himmlischen Kind, bei dem himmlischen Kind. 

Twenty-odd years ago one of her little Sunday School children wrote her a letter to thank her for that gift- the gift of song... the gift of language. It was more than ten years since that Sunday School class, and that Sunday School child found herself in Southern Ontario, in a German speaking church, teaching Music in a little Bible School there. She was in love with a young man of Mennonite heritage, whose parents were fluent in German and English. She was singing in a choir at the Church, singing in English and German. She found the German words came easily. She remembered the first German song she had learned, and thought she would tell her old Teacher of the way her life was unfolding. The way she could sing in the choir with confidence, because that first lesson had been so well learned.

The old woman's spirits were lifted.

She had made a difference.

She did matter.

Somehow she didn't feel quite so alone. 



I got a phone call today, from my old Sunday School teacher. She's 87 years old now, and living alone in a Nursing Home.

She called to thank me for that letter. She thought I probably wouldn't remember it, she thought it was written in 1982. I think she may have read the date wrong, and it was a little later than that, but it encouraged her, and she just wanted to thank me for writing to her all those years ago.

I told her where I was living. That my husband was the Pastor of a Church here. That we have 4 children- the oldest two just getting ready to set out on their own.

Oh! God has blessed you, she said.

Yes, I agreed.

He truly has.


  1. It's a blessing to know one is appreciated. Good for you for writing the letter.