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As I watched American Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin read a letter she had written to her parents, I thought, “what a moving and touching love letter.” The words she had penned were a touching expression of her love for her parents. She wrote that her parents were “always kind and thoughtful” and “very supportive as she pursued her goal” of becoming a world class swimmer. All who listened had tears in their eyes at this sincere display of respect and appreciation.

Have you thought about doing something special for your parents…like writing a letter to express your gratitude for their unconditional love? Or are you of the mindset that gifts are the best way to express appreciation?

My siblings and I always struggled with what to give our parents on special occasions. We bought them what we thought they might need or want, spending lots of money over the years on gifts hoping to please them. After their passing, we discovered that many of these gifts had never been opened. Five siblings and twelve grandchildren all buying gifts can amount to a lot of stuff to donate to Goodwill!

The other day I visited the home where I was raised. As I walked through the rooms, I spotted a stack of envelopes on the dresser next to my mother’s side of the bed. They contained cards that my siblings and I had given to our parents over the years. Many were birthday cards, others Christmas and other holiday cards.  Each card closed with a handwritten “I love you mother” or “I love you daddy.”  There were other words inscribed on the cards but those were written by the manufacturer, appropriate for each occasion.

Now I wish so much that I could turn back the hands of time to express my love on paper about the feelings I had for my parents:  how they nurtured and encouraged me to be the best, how grateful I am for their unconditional love, and how I even appreciate their tough love that kept me from getting into trouble.

It would have been great to have used our own words to describe our feelings when they were with us and not left it up to a card manufacturer. Had we done so, I am certain that among those stacks of cards on the dresser today, there would be our love letters to our mother and father.

So never give up! Never give up! Never give up!

Chaplain Walter Ghosten

By Chaplain Ghosten