When I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, my mind was filled with worry. What if I end up in a wheelchair? What if I get totally paralyzed? I lay in bed awake each night dwelling on my worst fears and feeling sorry for myself.

One morning as I was reading my Bible, my favorite Sunday school teacher from when I was young came to mind. I recalled how Mr. Roberts had made our lessons fun and how much I had enjoyed his classes. I wrote him a letter sharing what a blessing he had been to me and how he had made an impact on my spiritual life that was still with me today.

The next time I saw Mr. Roberts at church he approached me with tears glistening in his eyes and gave me a big hug. “If a person receives one letter like yours in his lifetime, then it’s all been worth it,” he whispered into my ear. My eyes became misty. I hadn’t realized how much of an impact my letter would have on Mr. Roberts. It had felt good to write the letter, reminiscing about our Sunday school classes. Now I saw how much my letter meant to him. We were both blessed.

My childhood best friend’s mom came to mind another day. I had always thought of her as a second mother. Marian was kind and often allowed me to have dinner with their family and to stay overnight. I decided to write her a letter, also, to let her know what a blessing she had been to me all those years. I shared memories of when I played at her house and how I was so happy she had been a special part of my life while growing up.

Marian sent me a letter in response, saying mine had arrived on a day that she really needed to be uplifted. She reminisced about when my best friend and I were young and about the other neighborhood kids. She also complimented me by saying she was sure I was a good mother to my own children, just as my mother had been to me. She thanked me for bringing back the sweet memories.

Tears welled in my eyes as I read her letter. I had written my letter from my heart, and her letter touched mine. We would always be special to one another.

Over the years, there have been times when I’ve worried about my health or other concerns. Then I stop to think of someone who had a positive influence on my life or affected my life in a special way. As I reach for pen and paper and begin to write the letters, my focus turns away from myself and I forget about my worries. Writing letters to those people makes me feel better and, from my prior experiences, I know my words encourage them.

The next time you find yourself worrying, stop and think of someone who had a positive impact on your life and write them a letter of gratitude. You will find changing the focus from yourself to thinking of others will brighten your day, and you can be sure your letters will uplift them, as well.

Think of those people who were instrumental in your life in some way. This could include relatives, teachers, spiritual leaders, friends, neighbors, or coworkers. Let them know why they’re special to you. Share endearing or funny memories or something they taught you that has helped you in your life.

As you write your letters of encouragement, you may be surprised at how good it makes you feel. In return, you might receive a letter or a phone call. But even if you don’t hear back from any of those special people in your life, they will enjoy hearing from you and know what a blessing they have been.

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