Before I became an involuntary resident of Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, I was convinced letter writing was a lost art. Apparently it's not. People still possess the ability to sit down and put thoughts on paper with a pen. Some compose them on a computer and print them. They're no less thoughtful or appreciated.

It takes scant thought to send a text, slightly more for most emails, and certainly not much effort for either. A letter is different. There is inertia that must be overcome with intentionality. You have to find a note card or paper. Who has envelopes or stamps? And if so, where are they?

I've been overwhelmed by the letters I've received over the last 1020 days (only an idiot would count the days). There is a tedious sameness to every day here, but easily the best part is mail-call. It occurs Monday through Friday at about 5:00pm. I've not counted the letters received, but there have easily been over 700, each one thoughtful, some healing in ways that have deeply touched me. I've gladly answered every letter.

They often include pictures, news clippings, prayers, articles, jokes, Jackson Browne lyrics, sermons, and Op-Ed pieces (some by the author). They are full of stories of kids and grandkids, dogs, travels, births/wedding/deaths, renovation projects, and relationships. Some even include perfume and even lip prints...as a joke. A very good joke. While it can seem that life is suspended here, letters help me live vicariously through the lives of those who care enough to share their stories.

Some include lines like these: "Hey, Charlie, speaking of beautiful, I loved the beautiful pictures of Walton that you linked on your post. I loved seeing him happy and adventurous and enjoying life. Thank you for sharing that with us. I look forward to meeting him one day--and I really believe we will. Hold on tight to Jesus my dear friend! He loves you so very much and I do too! You are in my prayers. Hugs to you."

I couldn't agree more with my friend's conviction of being eternally together with families and loved ones. In that way, letters are a tangible glimpse of heaven.