By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
Author’s Note: Grace Under Pressure is an on-going series of posts honoring everyday people who courageously make positive differences in their own lives and consequently in the lives of others. It is my own personal affirmation that unexpected heroes reside among us and that they serve as quiet but unshakable proof that virtue really is its own reward – and ours, too.
4-year-old Meredith was heartbroken over the loss of her dog, Abbey. The dog,a black lab, was a member of her family for a decade before Meredith was born and became a fixture in her young life. The day after the tragedy, Meredith’s mom came up with a wonderful way to console her daughter. She and Meredith decided to send a letter to Heaven announcing Abbey’s homecoming. Meredith wanted to make sure God recognized her friend amid all the new arrivals:
Will you please take care of my dog? Abbey died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I ‘m happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to swim and play with balls. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.
Meredith and her mom even enclosed a picture of Abbey with her tiny master to make sure God knew whom the little girl meant.
After addressing the envelope to “God in Heaven” and dutifully applying plenty of postage, the letter was deposited in the mailbox. A few days later, Meredith asked her mom if she believed that God had read the letter yet. Her mom assured her that it had been read and that Abbey was frolicking with all her new friends in Paradise.
The next day a package wrapped in gold paper arrived at Meredith’s home. It was addressed to Meredith and written in handwriting nobody recognized. Inside the box was the classic children’s book by Fred Rogers, When a Pet Dies. Alongside was the letter Meredith sent and the photograph. There was another letter, too. This one was from the Sender. It read:
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized her right away. Abbey isn’t sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don’t need our bodies in heaven, I don’t have any pockets to keep your picture in so I’m sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by. Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much. By the way, I’m easy to find. I am wherever there is love.
Some people say the letter was from a kindly soul in the dead letter office at the local post office. But more enlightened folks like Meredith and her mom know that the letter wouldn’t have arrived but for the intervention of a higher power — like the one that resides in the best of human hearts.
~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger