The hallway was narrow and aligned with small mailboxes along the walls. Each mailbox was fixed with a locking mechanism that locked and prevented access to the mail within. I neared the end of the hallway, in search of my mailbox. When I located the proper compartment, I peered into the tiny Plexiglas window at the face of the mailbox.
“Hmm, I’ve got a letter.” I said to myself under my breath. Kneeling before my mailbox, I turned the dial, entering the proper combination to unlock the mailbox. With the rectangular envelope within my hand, I read the return address on the left top corner of the envelope. “It’s from my sister. I’ve been waiting for this letter.”
I pocketed the letter and headed out of the campus post office, which was nestled beneath the campus bookstore. The weather was cool and breezy. The leaves were changing to reds, oranges, and yellows, creating a blanket of color across the courtyard.
I instantly headed to my dorm room across campus. I found my way up to my room. A small living area filled with two desks, a couch, and a TV that stood on a top of a dresser. Entering the front door of the dorm room, I sat at my desk and peeled the envelope from my pocket. The envelope was decorated with a pencil stencil of a creative cross spread across the front. In the center of the hand-drawn cross was a small heart. As my eye analyzed the off-centered cross, I noticed the letter “I” above the small heart and the letter “U” underneath the heart, spelling the phrase, “I love you.”
I shredded the envelope open, pulling the letter from the disregarded pieces. I unfolded the pages, and I began skimming through the contents of the letter. My sister and I have been sending letters back and forth ever since she was incarcerated. I couldn’t wait to read the contents of this letter.
I could never understand what she was going through, yet, I felt I could offer her some light in these dark times.
So, I began to write her every two to three months, sharing the Gospel and the hope that lies within it and in return she would send me a letter expressing gratitude for my kind words and sharing life with me. With every letter that I sent her I spoke about life and life in Christ. I shared scripture that would offer her hope. I just wanted to see my sister understand the hope that I have learned to love over the years.
“First I’d like to tell you that your letter brought me so much joy. I hadn’t gotten mail in about 2 and half weeks and to get a letter from you made me feel so loved. Your letter brought tears to my lovely blue eyes that had been gray for days. When I’m down my eyes turn gray and since I got your letters the girls say my eyes are so bright.”
I read my sister’s words in my head, yet I mouthed the words quietly. I couldn’t believe how much joy I received from this letter. I am very thankful that I was able to share these words with her.
“Tony, this jail time has opened my eyes and my heart to a new way of life and I am looking forward to it. Tony, I carry your letter with my Bible and I have read it at least a dozen times since I got it yesterday.”
At the bottom of the second page, I noticed a scripture hand-printed:
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.”
I read and reread the letter until a sense of peace was nestled within my heart. I lay down the letter upon my desk, and leaned back in my chair, thinking. Within minutes, my mind was roaming with new thoughts to share. I quickly grabbed my Bible and a new sheet of paper and prepared to write.
As I wrote every letter, I thought of her sitting in a lonely cell, gripping the letter that I sent to her. I imagined that every word that she read filled her with a reminder of love and grace, giving her something to look forward to.
As I crafted my newest letter, I continued to refer to the letter that I had just received. I read it and reread it, ensuring my understanding of what she was saying and the meaning behind it. I always looked at the verses that she sent me, knowing that she was finding light in them.
“My purpose behind sending you the verses, was basically because I want you to see I’m not just saying that I’m reading God’s word but that I really am!” my sister wrote in her next letter to me , which arrived a few weeks later.
Her letter consisted of two other verses; Philippians 4:6-7 and Colossians 1:9
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
“So, we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.”
My sister’s second letter was much shorter than the first, yet it was still touching. My sister’s words were heartfelt and personal. I knew that she was still in the darkness, yet I believe she is finding peace in those times.
After reading her letter, I pulled out a pile of paper and a pen. I began writing. The words poured from my mind and formed sentences that lifted up hope in Christ. The words were filled with life, looking to give hope to a person who was downtrodden and broken hearted. Yet, I soon realized that my sister was not the only one who would grow from this experience. I would…….
“God, thank you for this opportunity to speak hope to my sister; I pray that You would be with her during this difficult time. I ask that you strengthen her daily, giving her the strength she needs to face this time. I pray that the words that You give me would encourage her and bring her closer to you. I pray all of this in Your name, Amen.” I spoke aloud, leaning forward in my desk chair with my hands folded together.
I finished the letter with a kind word of love and plopped the pen atop of the desk. I folded the pages of the letter into a tri-fold and prepped it for the mail. I pocketed the newly written letter and headed back down to the campus post office.
I can’t believe I get the opportunity to share the gospel with my sister. I can’t believe I get the opportunity to share the gospel with anybody. This feels really good and I know that I am making a difference. I thought to myself as I walked through the campus pathways towards the campus post office. I fought through the muffled existence of self-doubt. In times like these, I am often plagued with a variety of questions: Am I sure I should be so upfront about my faith? Is my sister appreciative or grateful for my message of hope? Do I truly believe in everything that I am telling her? How does sharing the Gospel truly change her life?
With the letter stuffed into my pants pocket, I thought through the series of questions. The truth was: I don’t know all of the answers. All I knew was that God has changed me; God has seen the brokenness that harasses my family, yet He has made me whole. God knows my heart, yet He loves me relentlessly, allowing me to love myself. God has taken a child who was bit with silence, and yet God has given him the privilege to speak.
I decided one thing: If my sister does not accept Christ before she is released, I can at least hold my head high knowing that I fought through my self-doubt and followed God’s will. I also decided that I would not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ in my life. I will continue to share the gospel in any way that I can, regardless of who appreciates it or understands my reasoning.
I released the envelope from my pocket and looked down at it. My heart thumped in my chest, my nerves spiked. I wasn’t being fueled with fear or anxiety; I was collecting my valor and decided to walk a path of strength and courage.
I handed my envelope to the post office employee as he ensured that the envelope was stamped with the correct information and pointed to the mail slot that it would be dispensed into. I slid the envelope into the mail slot, never to be seen again.
My job was finished, the rest relied on God.
Anthony K. Giesick
I grew up loving stories and quickly found myself loving writing poetry, stories, songs! Here is a sample of what Beautiful Feet Writings is all about!.