Last week, Jason and I made our first drive ever up to Niagara Falls, NY. The drive from Central PA up to the Falls passes through mostly rural areas with small towns and a few factories, and lots and lots of trees. One of our favorite pastimes as a couple has been going on factory tours, and we have been known to stop on the spur of the moment and tour a factory that we noticed a sign for on the highway. On this drive up to Niagara, we drove through Bradford, PA - Home of the Zippo Lighter. You better believe we pulled over immediately!!
There was no factory tour, but there was a museum with lots of really intriguing memorabilia. The item that captured my attention the most was in a section of the museum that was highlighting Zippo's "no questions asked" restore or replace guarantee. Under glass they had an original letter written by a Colonel in the U.S. Army during World War II. One of the men in his outfit had been killed in the line of duty. The soldier's body was badly disfigured and there was nothing left of his personal effects to be returned to his family other than a damaged Zippo lighter. The Colonel wanted to return the Zippo lighter to the soldier's widow as the only keepsake that he could offer her, but he didn't want her to have it in such a mangled state, fearing that it would remind her of her husband's suffering before his death. He wrote to Zippo and asked them to please repair or replace the lighter so he could return it to this young widow. They did so. I have tears in my eyes as I imagine the compassion of that Colonel, who certainly went above and beyond the call of duty in caring for the family of his fallen soldier.
This week, I taught the last in a series of Women's Bible studies in my church about "When Life is Hard." At the end of our lesson, I asked the ladies to write a letter to a non-specific friend experiencing trials, sharing with her what she had learned during the study and encouraging her in her time of hardship. After we had written these short letters, we read them aloud in small groups. Again, tears.
When we take the time to carefully write a letter, to reach out to another person, to go out of our way to notice them and connect with them, it is a beautiful thing. In this world of quickie emails, jotting things on facebook walls, and tweeting; let's not forget the impact a heartfelt, handwritten letter can make.
Carla Ritz. Proof positive that God uses cracked pots!