How one email can change a life

A few weeks ago, you got an email. You remember, that really short one. Just two sentences, probably. Completely unexpected. And completely positive. The writer wasn’t much with words, but you could hear his voice, her heart. That one message told you that you were on the right track, that you were noticed.

It was the only email like that you’ve received for months. Most of the messages you get are run-of-the-mill. They accomplish business, they acknowledge receipt of the payment, they offer you a portion of millions of dollars in exchange for the few digits that make up your account information, they attack your performance. The best that most messages do is nothing.

That’s why this message stood out. And why you’ve almost forgotten it. In the steady stream of brown and gray, it’s bright yellow light has faded.

Of course, it may have been a letter. It may have been a card. It may have been two words of a conversation. But it was water to your soul.

Eugene Peterson tells about writing a review of a book. In the review he mentions a particular positive aspect of the book. Eventually he heard from the author. “No one ever noticed [that]. I wondered if anyone ever would. Thank you for noticing.” A Pulitzer Prize winner, wondering if anyone would notice.

Paul wrote to a church about wondering how they were doing and then getting the news: “Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you.”

You remember that message now?

It’s your turn. Take the five minutes. Write that email. To a friend. To a colleague. To a niece. To a mentor.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.