The Letter

So I wanted to switch gears and tell you a story today. This is fiction.

Chloe could always remember the smell of her grandmother’s house. It smelled like the warm sugar cookies they would bake and frost together. She had learned so much from her loving grandmother over the years. How to bake, how to knit, how to play canasta.

Chloe wasn’t sure why these memories were coming up now. She was filling out the paperwork for college. She had just gotten her acceptance package and wasted no time getting started on the forms. Maybe she was feeling nostalgic. This was a big milestone. Maybe she wished she could go back to those simpler times when she was younger and stayed the night at Grammy’s. When she was in elementary school before all the homework and extracurricular activities filled her nights. Time had certainly gotten away from her as she grew up. She always meant to spend time with Grammy, but other things had taken her attention.

At her graduation, Grammy had attended with a cane. “My hip isn’t what it used to be.” She noted when asked about her slowed gate. Chloe still remembered Grammy full of energy and vitality chasing her around the house, but that image didn’t connect to this older frail version showing up to her graduation ceremony.

“Here,” Grammy said handing her a plain sealed envelope. It was thicker than expected. “it’s not much, but I spent a lot of time finding just the right words.” Chloe hugged her and thanked her for her gift.

A few days later after all the celebrating died down, Chloe was packing for her trip abroad. She held the envelope and noticed the weight of it. It felt like more than just a single sheet of paper. She opened the envelope to discover a very long handwritten letter. She put it in her bag to read on the plane.

Tears streamed down her face as she read the words of love, wisdom, inspiration, and lessons that were only taught by hard won victories and experience. She wished she had spent more time learning these lessons in person, but she put the thought out of her mind. She was too excited about her trip to Paris to feel bad about past failures.

Years passed and life went on. Chloe married and had two young kids. She was starting her own Etsy business and things were going pretty well. She had moved two states away and couldn’t remember the last time she saw Grammy in person. They kept in touch passively through facebook sharing pictures back and forth, but not much of a real relationship existed anymore.

Chloe started seeing posts from Grammy about chemo treatments and pink ribbons on her profile picture. “I really should go visit her.” She thought… but the thought passed when the potty training timer went off again and Chloe jumped back into her busy mom routine.

The next year, Grammy passed away. There were more friends than family at the funeral. Chloe sat stunned, staring at the casket, thinking of all the things she could have done or maybe should have done. Overwhelmed with guilt and missed opportunities, Chloe felt herself sinking into a depression. At the reading of the will, there wasn’t much of an estate to speak of. Grammy didn’t have but the one son, Chloe’s Dad, and he had disappeared when she was three. The lawyer handed Chloe a familiar thick envelope with her name written lovingly on it in Grammy’s handwriting.

“This is all she left you,” he said with a shrug, “I don’t know what’s in it, but she said that it’s all for you.”

Chloe grimaced. This was the last thing she wanted right now. She wished for another chance to bake cookies with Grammy. She didn’t feel emotionally stable to face her failures. And while she knew the letter would be touching, she felt too raw to go there emotionally. The letter ended up on a shelf between some books in the book case. It was more than Chloe could handle so she decided to read it later. When she was ready.

After another year, David, Chloe’s husband got laid off. She wasn’t sure if her Etsy shop income was enough to sustain them. Two weeks later, the engine died on their only car. The bills were piling up and the money was gone. Things started to look hopeless. That’s when the arguing started. Why couldn’t David just get a job? Why had God forgotten them? Why was everything falling apart?

The divorce was not a surprise. Money was the downfall. There was never enough of it and it always seemed to be the topic of the arguments. She and the kids were moving to a fresh start. A new city would help her put these bad memories behind her, right? As Chloe finished packing the kids’ rooms, she landed at the bookshelf. She discovered the envelope. She shook her head. This was the last thing she wanted to think about. Failing at being a good granddaughter in the wake of her life crumbling apart was not a helpful thought. She put the envelope in her purse. ”Later,” she told herself.

Later eventually came. Now three years after Grammy’s death. After all the boxes were unpacked. After the kids were settled into their new school. After Chloe felt comfortable at her new job in her new city. It was a meager existence, but she was finally starting to feel settled. Perhaps she would venture to think that the word hopeful could come back into her vocabulary. One night after dinner as she was clearing the table, and the kids were playing legos in the living room, she had an inexplicable feeling to go open the letter. It was quite unexpected. She pulled it from its forgotten pocket in her purse and sat at the table. As she unfolded the long, multiple page handwritten letter, tears began to stream down her face. At the third page, she noticed something flutter to the table. She wiped her tears with her sleeve so she could see clearly. It was a check. Chloe stared at it. She dared not blink, lest some of the zeros disappear! She was stunned. Was this real? The account on the check had her’s and Grammy’s name on it.

She remembered going to the bank with Grammy when she was little and her mom was with her. They sat at a big desk and talked to the banker for a long time. She remembered wandering over to one of those wire toys with the chunky beads on it while Grammy and her mom talked to the banker. They must have set up an account for her. Grammy must have been saving in this account for all those missed years.

Chloe couldn’t stop crying. What if she had opened this years ago? Would she and David still be together? Would her business have survived? Would her life still have crumbled? She never expected an inheritance from Grammy. Grammy lived a simple life — but now it was all clear, that while she lived simply, she put everything into savings. She must have done some investing as well, but no way for Chloe to know since she wasn’t around.

Now this is, of course, a fictional story, but it portrays a very real truth. God loves us so much and has laid out intricate plans for us and He’s even gone as far as to provide for our every need! But do we take time to listen to Him? Do we spend time working on our relationship with Him? Because we are citizens of Heaven, joint heirs with Christ, God has an amazing inheritance for us. While some of the inheritance we will obviously receive when we step into eternity, there is some of the inheritance that is ours to enjoy while we’re here on the earth… but we’ll never know what we are entitled to if we never read the letter God gave us: His Word. That is why we need to spend time every day with God – not for what he can give us, but so we can enjoy a full and beautiful relationship with Him – we don’t seek the blessings, but the blessings come as a side effect of seeking God. He takes care of His children. Everything we need for life and godliness has already been given to us (2 Peter 1:3). We all can spend more time intentionally cultivating a stronger relationship with God. It won’t happen over night and it won’t happen if we’re coasting through life just going to church on Sundays and not opening the Bible to read it for ourselves.

CS Lewis said, “Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.”

I would encourage you to be intentional this week and begin (or keep going with) your habit to spend time every day with God and reading His word. In your journal, write about how this story spoke to you. Are there areas you need to focus on this week? How can you be more intentional with growing your relationship with God?

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