Friday, January 15 2021 - 3:49 PM
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Surprise Email

I was sorting through the emails on my computer. Curious, I opened a message from a man’s name I didn’t recognize. He had sent a LinkedIn request and a message. He wanted to know if I was the same person who used to work for my denomination’s youth magazine many years ago. I acknowledged his question and then I received a longer message. He used to read the youth magazine when he was a 16-year-old immigrant kid and he liked my writing. He had recently read something that reminded him of my writing style and he wondered if I was still alive.

This man said that my writing had encouraged him to pursue a profession in journalism. He had worked at our local newspaper in Florida, then a larger newspaper and later at the Wall Street Journal. Currently he works in another profession at a national government department.

His gracious words and gratitude came as a surprise Christmas present on a hot summer day. I was moved to tears as read his letter and then thanked him. I read it again when my husband came home, and shared it with my adult children. I don’t get that kind of feedback everyday or every year.

I have been struggling with motivation for a writing project. Sometimes I don’t know if I still “have it.” This man’s letter seemed like Jesus had spoken through him. I was humbled to think that there are lives that I have touched and changed. I will never know about most of them but this one was a gift. God has used me and that is so humbling, amazing and fulfilling.

I am encouraged to continue to share words with those nameless, faceless people who just might be reading. I am also reminded that we all must reach out and thank those others who have influenced us. As long as they are alive, a thankful message might make a big difference in their lives. That is the beautiful synergy of gratitude.

Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:

1. Can you remember a teacher, mentor, pastor, or relative that made a difference in your life? Choose one to send a letter, email or gift this week.

2. What gift or talent have you been given or developed for which you can thank God?

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About Karen Spruill

Karen Spruill

writes from Orlando, Florida.

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