What I would still say

15 08 2011

Today I shuffled through the contents of our lock box in search of the deed to this house. I found it, along with our wills, passports, papers of guardianship, birth certificates, and other important documents. I also found an envelope on which I’d printed, “For Jacob, Grace & Luke in the event that anything happens to their parents.”

I didn’t remember when I’d written it, nor did I have a clue what I’d find inside. Bank account numbers? Our lawyer’s contact info? It wasn’t sealed, so I opened it and unfolded a single sheet of paper. No date, but the first sentence told me I’d written it in August or September of 2006. Five years ago.

Have you ever wondered what you would say to your children if you had to condense your whole heart to a one-page, handwritten, farewell letter? Would you confess shortcomings? Offer practical advice? Steer them clear of mistakes you made or share secrets of your success?

Here’s what I wrote:

Dear Jacob, Grace & Luke,

Daddy and I are leaving soon for our trip to Europe. I fully expect to return safe and sound, but knowing that there’s always the possibility we won’t, I want to say just a few things.

1. I love you.
2. God loves you more than I do. If He removes your parents from your life, you can be sure He will meet all your needs without our input.
3. Receive God’s gifts with gratitude. All of them.
4. No matter what happens in your life, know that God’s will is good, acceptable, and perfect. Trust Him.

Every breath is grace. As long as God lends you breath, use it to glorify Him.

One way or another, I’ll see you soon.

Much, much love,

A lot has changed since 2006. Grace and Luke have both married and become parents themselves. And I wondered, should I write a new note? Update it? If I did, what would I say differently?

Other than adding the beautiful new family members’ names, I honestly can’t think of a single thing. Because, even though life may change in many momentous ways, truth doesn’t.

The trip to Europe is a fading memory, and obviously we returned safe and sound, but the letter? I read it again, then slipped it back in the envelope.

Every breath is grace. As long as God lends you breath, use it to glorify Him.

The letter is back in the box.

* * *

Giving thanks in community for:

#199 every breath, grace
#200 cicada song outside my window
#201 George in the kitchen voluntarily washing dishes
#202 Jacob’s grin as he counted to ten in Spanish
#203 lingering at the table after dinner, pondering Philippians 1:3-11
#204 friendships that span decades
#205 the prayers of the saints



12 responses

15 08 2011

That was beautiful and inspiring.

15 08 2011

Wow. Simple words and profound truth. Beautiful, as always. xoxo

15 08 2011
James Williams

This is excellent. Thanks.

16 08 2011
Patricia (Pollywog Creek)

Oh, Jeanne…that was perfectly lovely. I wouldn’t change a thing, either. Every breath is grace. Much love, Patricia

16 08 2011

This was breathtaking…
And your handwriting is gorgeous!

16 08 2011

When Josh leaves for deployment, among the many things we say at our goodbye…there are two things we always say…

1. Only God loves you more than me.

2. I’ll see you again on this side of the river or the other.

Maybe we will add, every breath is grace.


16 08 2011
Lisa McLean

Awesome. It seems to me that the direct style of it would give a child the feeling of solidity and strength, aiding him in his ability to move forward without you, like you seem to have confidence that everything will be all right. Nice.

16 08 2011

Jeanne – it is simply perfect. I cannot think of another thing to add to it. We have grandchildren now too, but it is all I could want to say to them as well. Oh Jeanne – you have such a heart.

17 08 2011
Deborah Carr

This warmed my heart so. I think we all have to take some time to write letters such as this…I think I have a number of letters to write.

31 08 2011

Having just “weather” the storm Tropical Storm Irene (the tail of the Hurricane), I was thinking about the things that are not in order and need to be readied. The Love Note that you wrote is nearly flawless and I don’t think I would change a thing either. It made me sing…..”I never can say good-bye” yes, by Michael Jackson and if our children are in Christ we don’t have to. Sure it would be great to say our “good-byes” see you in Eternity but we can just say as you wrote, “see you soon.” Thank you for your inspiration. C.

2 09 2011
Ann Kroeker

Perfect. Out of the lock box long enough to share with all of us these truths, and back again for safekeeping.

If you expanded on each one of those, you could fill some pages with stories and wisdom. But demonstrating that so much falls into just a few categories is a good, good thing.

2 09 2011

As an editor, I applaud your brevity…as a father of three, I applaud your desire to pass along what matters most to those who matter most…amen.

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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