A letter & a toothbrush

Yesterday evening two important things happened. I opened a letter, a real letter I can hold in my hand in a pink envelope from a special friend of mine who is currently living in Swaziland, Africa. It has taken this letter aproximately three months to reach me, and I was really touched to receive a letter full of love and encouragement, packaged beautifully and written with care. I opened it with expectation, happy to hear from my friend, knowing that I would read something full of the supernatural peace of God. It is the first letter I have received from Swaziland, although not the first to reach me from Africa. I have been writing letters to girls in Africa since we first began to sponsor a girl in Uganda, ten years ago. I have watched her grow up in photos and enjoyed hearing her personality speak to me as she grows in maturity and in the ability to express herself. This letter spoke of the care my friend has for me and the interesting things she is experiencing at the moment in another country. She is spending time with her family, and enjoying some rest. Letters are one of the ways I experience God’s justice in my life. I began my journey of asking God to show me more of his heart of justice because of my conversations in letters with Ugandan girls. God speaks to me of his love and care for me as an individual when I open a letter from my friends, and he reminds me that by writing, I can impact one of the biggest injustices that I can see in our world today, the injustice of loneliness. It can be easy to isolate ourselves or fill our time with distractions in order to cover over the cracked places of our hearts, drawing back from people because of past hurts. It takes me effort and time to write to someone else, but because I am engaging with the process of opening my heart to another human being, I am declaring my love for my friend as an individual, my thankfulness for their presence in my life, and my desire to see them healed of past hurts by a caring Daddy God, My Father God.

After I opened my letter, I opened a new toothbrush packet. It is a bamboo toothbrush, because I am trying to use less plastic products. If I try to change all of my wasteful products at once, it is too overwhelming and I will justgive in. It can be easy to become bogged down in all the products I know I have not changed and still have lots of packaging and to lose sight of why I want to be less wasteful. I am reminding myself in this moment that changing products one at a time is not admitting defeat, it is not being so slow that I will fail, it is going slow in order to complete a task. In the words of Hamilton, “I’m not standing still, I am lying in wait!” Thanks, Lin. I remind myself in this moment that every Keep cup, every bamboo toothbrush, represents a long term commitment to the human cost of suffering. I am valuing the world’s poorest people who do not get to choose where they live and what they need to survive.

What do you think? Have you started using less plastic in your life? Which products have you changed and why? Have you found it easy to find ethical alternatives to products you need?

Is there someone you can show care and love to today by writing a letter?

Love always, from Beth.

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