Beloved Neva Jane White, who taught me so much more than how to play piano, left this earth four years ago on October 20, 2012.
She left these words, which have a sweet and funny story behind them. When I lived in Italy, and when I lived in Croatia, I would write her letters from time to time. This was before email, and calling cost too much. And I was very much a letter writer.
When I would come home for a visit, I would always see her if possible. And she would always apologize that she had not ever responded to my letters. (She was working full time and was just the kind of person who is very involved in loving the people right in front of her.) She would always say, "But next time, I'm going to write. I will write you a letter, so don't stop writing me, because I love to hear from you."
So I never stopped writing her. And she never stopped not writing back.
Until 2008. I was making a six-week trip to Europe that involved several speaking and teaching responsibilities, and I felt the need for support from friends because I was somewhat overwhelmed by what I would be doing. (And traveling most of that time by myself.)
So I sent out an email to several friends, asking them if they would write me before I left or while I was away, just notes of encouragement, either handwritten (which I would love) or by email if they just couldn't see doing it by hand and mailing it the old-fashioned way. Truth is, though, I longed for something tangible to have with me as I journeyed.
Several friends responded, and I did have both handwritten notes and emailed encouragement accompanying in my travels. And nothing from dear Mrs. White.
Nothing, that is, until I got home. When I was able to visit her, she had a ten-page letter written that she had not been able to send in time that I would have recived it while I was away. So she just saved it until I got home. And said she hoped the ten pages made up for all the years she never wrote. There were a couple of spots where she had fallen asleep while writing, and her pen had drifted down the page. There was a funny apology for that. There were humorous bits, and hopes for the travels and the groups I would be speaking to.
But mostly it was her sharing scriptures and songs that she had found to be especially encouraging, and that she wanted to share with me. The part in the photo was from a calendar, I believe, a calendar based on Psalm 23, with notes by a certain author that I no longer recall.
The section in the photo is especially poignant, because at this point in her life, she was dealing with several health problems and was in pain quite a bit. Her faith shone through to the very end, and so did her generosity. She had such an abundant supply of love and such a full heart, those around her never were empty.
It was such a delight to receive this from her, and it mattered not at all to me that it had not been part of the travel experience. It is her beloved handwriting on creamy, lovely paper. It is now "something tangible to have with me as I journey" throughout the rest of my life, and I will treasure it forever.