Today I found a letter on the sidewalk. There was no envelope. Should I read it? To whom does it belong? Should I return it to the writer? Well, I won’t know who it belongs to if I don’t read it, right?
As I read the letter, it is clear that the author is a in desperate situation and looking for help and guidance. I don’t recognize the name of either person in the letter. Now what do I do? Call the police? Call the post office? I ask my children if they know anyone by this or that name. I ask my husband what he thinks I should do. He agrees the situation requires immediate action, but has no idea what to do about it either. He recommends, in jest, that I write a post about it on Facebook and see if anyone responds.
So I do.
It’s kind of like the song “Message In A Bottle” by Sting, I get “a hundred billion” responses. More responses than I expected and more than I can handle. Are there really that many people named this or that? Are they really that lonely or desperate that they need this letter to feel that they belong? Or are they just that curious?
There is no good answer to any of these questions and I keep the letter, reading it every once in a while and wondering what ever happened to this poor man who needed so much help.
It didn’t occur to me until many years later that the letter may already have been read by its intended recipient.