The Love Letters
"Who is Eeyore? Cecil asked sadly - ever the one to learn new things.
"Eeyore is the sad little donkey in Winnie the Pooh," I explained. "He drags around, so sad, and YOU looked SO sad and dragging when you came in! You usually bounce up the walk!"
"I feel sad and draggy," Cecil sighed. "James' and Louise's boy Greg has had a terrible accident. They don't know if he'll get better. A truck he was working under came off the jack and fell on him." Cecil was of an age and time that many men thought they always had to put on a brave face. When I saw him so sad and near tears, I knew his heart was in shreds. I started gently asking him for more details while asking God to guide me - to see if there was anything I could say or do that would be a blessing.
"Which is worse," he struggled to say, "to think Greg might not even make it, or to think he will make it and will never walk again? He's so young. He's got his life ahead of him. He needs to dance at his wedding and play with his children. What if that never happens?"
Now I was near tears myself, as much for Cecil with his caring heart in such horrible pain as I was for Greg and his parents. "Cecil, let's just ask God to send angels to be with Greg," I said softly, "how many shall we ask for?"
"I don't know that they listen to us," he replied, "but you seem so sure they do, - let's send a hundred!" Then he gave a little giggle, "Okay, let's send two-hundred while we're at it."
Relieved to see a little color come back in Cecil's face, and as his breath started coming a little easier, I realized I had been scared too. "Cecil," I offered, "I'm thinking there's something else we can to for Greg. I don't know what that can be yet, but let's you and I ask God. There will be an answer."
A day or two later, while at the supermarket I felt an urge to go down the greeting cards aisle. At first this felt peculiar to me, there were no birthdays coming up for my family or friends. But as I strolled past the cards, I got the idea that I would find THE PERFECT CARD for Cecil to send to Greg. Now I was on a mission. As I looked at the get well cards, something seemed missing in all of them. What? Then I saw a 'secret pal' card, all cute and innocent, and I knew. Cecil could send Greg several cards and sign them "Your Secret Admirer", or "Your Secret Pal", and the curiosity of trying to figure out who had sent it might distract Greg from the injury. I knew enough about engaging the body's natural healing ability to know it was worth the try.
I was so excited to tell Cecil the idea I couldn't even wait for him to come over. I called and laid out the plan for him. I nearly was discouraged when he said it wasn't a good idea. "Why!" I squealed. "Why isn't it a good idea? Greg would get curious and that is a very healthy thing."
"Cause I wouldn't know what to write!" he said flatly, digging in his heels.
Even though Cecil was enormously smart, he had quit high school quite young and was not formally educated. He felt embarrassed and awkward about putting his thoughts and feelings on paper. "Oh Cecil," I said lightly, "You know how I LOVE to write. We'll do it together. You give me the ideas and I'll put it into words. We'll do great!"
Cecil REALLY liked that and started feeding me ideas right away. Honorable guy that he was, he made sure to tell me immediately that he would pay for all the cards and expenses! I had some suitable cards at home and we got busy. From then on, until he could tell me that all was well with Greg, we wrote a get well card every single day and signed it "Your Secret Pal", or "Your Secret Admirer." It was such fun for us both. I'd shop every week to ten days to stock up on wonderful cards. Cecil and I visited or spoke every day so I would know what was going on with Greg - what he might need to hear - what Greg had been talking about.
Sometimes the cards were meant to be soothing, sometimes inspiring, sometime a kick in the rear. Between Cecil and I, we could almost feel what Greg needed to hear next. It became our ministry. We were both grateful for our part in helping Greg-Cecil because he cared so deeply about Greg and me because Cecil's caring had touched me so. Early on, I found a large patch of the most gigantic four-leaf clovers I had ever seen. Almost every card from then on had a huge four-leaf clover in it. Some of them were as large as the palm of my hand. I am a life-long lover of four-leaf clovers. Always look for them when I see a patch of clover. Always feel pleased when I find one or two. I had never seen such a large, persistent patch of huge four-leaf clover, and since that time, I never have again. Cecil and I took it as a sign. I'd say a little prayer as I mailed each card. And await the reports.
Cecil would hear from the family about the cards and then come back to me all excited with a full report of what people were saying about them, what effect they seemed to be having on Greg. It became a happy game for us, especially when we realized that the cards were indeed helping Greg. Cecil was amazed and tickled that it had become a game for everyone concerned to figure out who was writing the cards. I was too! Somehow they knew it was a woman's handwriting and that I was highly educated. I didn't think I was using any big words or anything but Cecil said it was just the way I put my words together. They really tried to play the detective and knew it had to be someone close or someone who knew someone close. In a way, I think it helped everyone be more lighthearted and I know that the mystery was a blessing in and of itself.
At one point, the doctors were being less than absolutely confident about Greg having a complete recovery. I sort of flew off the handle about their attitude and made an impassioned plea to Greg to remember that God was bigger than any situation we ever found ourselves facing. "Healing your body isn't any harder for God than creating pine trees," I wrote, "You just have to keep telling yourself that - God is in charge and God is more powerful than this situation. I think you ought to just tell those doctors that! What do they know? They don't know everything! Make up your mind that God is in charge, Greg, and then just tell those doctors as boldly as you can, 'God is in charge!' Your body will heal." Cecil really liked that card. He may not have had a formal theology but he knew I had written the truth!
Another time, Greg's girlfriend (now his wife) wanted to stay home from work and be with him. Cecil remarked that Shannon would be saving the insurance company a lot of money. The cost of a practical, home care nurse would have cost about three times the salary Shannon needed for less than a third of the time. Greg put all his strong young energy into convincing them. It turned out that the insurance company thought it was a fine idea. I congratulated him in the next letter for speaking up for what he wanted.
It was so like Cecil to do whatever he could to help another person. There was never any fanfare or to do about it. He would see a need and he would help. Helping others was something Cecil had made up his mind to do! He passed away several years ago - and people still talk about his caring ways. I often think of what a privilege it was for me to have been his friend and to have played a part in his being a blessing to Greg.
� Honey Judith Rubin