Doug snapped awake at the sound of his wife's shout. She was upstairs, going through the mail that had been stacking up for the past four weeks, and he had sat down to read the paper. Not surprisingly, he had nodded off.
It had been a rough and exhausting time for both of them, starting with that awful phone call. Shelly's mom was on the line, saying, "I'm so sorry, Shelly, I'm so sorry..." Shelly's brother, Steve, had died suddenly in a skiing accident, and everything had turned upside down for a while.
Now, they were finally home, and were trying to take the first wobbly steps toward resuming their "normal lives."
As Doug moved quickly up the stairs and down the hall toward their bedroom, he prayed, for about the thousandth time, to have the right words to say to comfort his grieving wife.
"What is it, Honey?" He knew instinctively that it had something to do with Steve, but the quality of the yell had him puzzled.
"Read this," Shelly managed to blurt out, through her tears, and she shoved an oversized postcard into his hand.
It was written in Steve's unmistakable tiny but perfect handwriting, the same penmanship he had seen on so many birthday, anniversary, and Christmas cards over the years. Steve was good at keeping in touch the "old-fashioned" way-through the written word.
Or he had been. No more cards, no more letters.
Doug sighed heavily and glanced at the postcard, noticing the postmark. The sixth of last month. Doug closed his eyes tightly as the realization swept over him: this had to have been mailed the day Steve died.
Shelly & Doug,
I just wanted to drop you a quick note, because I have something to tell you that I know you'll be thrilled to hear.
I was a little bored last night, and picked up the Bible here at the hotel where I'm staying. I got interested, and read the entire book of John! His words, combined with what you've been telling me for all these years finally got through to me, Sis, and I've decided to give Jesus a try.
You always told me that all I had to do was three things: confess, believe, and trust Him with my life.
See the pristine, sparkling snow scene on the flip side? That's how I feel--clean and new! Can't wait to get together and talk with you about this, and learn more about walking with God!
Well, there's the five-minute reminder for the shuttle up to the ski lodge--gotta go.
Written up the side of the card, next to the address, was his typical sign-off: Love you, Doug and Sis--always have, always will. Steve
Doug put his arm around his girl and they cried together. When the last waves of their bittersweet tears had passed, she said, "I'll call Mom and Dad and tell them the good news. They'll both be so..." Her words became indecipherable as sobs set in again.
"Doug, we've prayed for this for twenty-two years, since I became a Christian in college--do you realize that? Twenty-two years! Thank you, God, thank you God, thank you, THANK YOU!"
The happy news helped lift the heartbreak of everyone who heard it in the whirlwind of calls and e-mails that followed, especially for Shelly's parents. Their church family had also faithfully prayed for the salvation of Shelly's brother, so Doug made sure to notify the prayer chain coordinator, which ignited a new sequence of rejoicing.
Shelly set the postcard upright on her dresser, and a ray of moonlight caught it as Doug was about to drift off to sleep that night.
He flicked away one more teardrop and smiled as he remembered Steve's words: