Letters of Hope

Letters of Hope

From Chicken Soup for the Military Wife's Soul

Letters of Hope

“Love is patient and kind. . . . Love never gives up; and its faith, hope and patience never fail” (1 Corinthians 13:4). Our Gran Lindsay who now lives in Burlington, Ontario, has this scripture printed on a magnet on her fridge. To some visitors it is only a magnet to our family it is a gentle reminder of a cherished family story.

It all began with a message in the town newspaper: “LINDSAY: Darling I am well . . . Hope you and the children are fine.” The year was 1943. A ham radio operator had picked up the fragmented message and directed it to the small-town newspaper.

Martha Lindsay had waited thirteen long months for any glimmer of hope, that her husband William Lindsay had survived the sinking of the H.M.S. Exeter on March 1, 1942. Holding onto that hope, she waited for word from the Red Cross. The days turned into weeks, and no word from the Red Cross. Martha did her best to stay busy with the children, always keeping William in her prayers. Finally one afternoon, the Red Cross contacted her with the news that she had been praying for: A William Lindsay had been located and was presently a prisoner of war.

Martha’s heart soared. William was alive; she had never given up hope. Martha was instructed to write messages to William. She was to write no more than twenty-five words on a plain white postcard and then forward them to Geneva. Only one postcard a month was permitted. Martha wrote to William of the antics of their children Billy and Catherine, who had been babies the last time he saw them. She did her best to express her love and devotion to him on the tiny white postcards. In twenty-five words she kept reminding him that he was loved. Two and a half agonizing years passed without receiving a reply, but still Martha’s faith and hope never faltered.

One September morning in 1945, as Martha was getting ready to take the children to school, the mailman delivered a small scrap of paper through the mail slot. It had no envelope and no stamp. As she turned the paper over, her heart began to pound and her eyes filled with tears as she recognized William’s handwriting: “Martha, I’ve been released. I’m coming home.”

On a beautiful day in October 1945, William Lindsay returned home to his family. After their tears of joy had subsided, Martha asked him if he had received her letters, and she learned sadly, that not one had found its way to the camp.

Shortly after William’s arrival home, there was a knock at the door. Martha answered to find a young sailor standing in the doorway.

“Excuse me, are you Martha Lindsay?”

“Yes, I am,” she replied.

“Was your husband a prisoner of war?”

“Yes,” she whispered.

With a tear in his eye, he introduced himself. “My name is William Lindsay. I too was a prisoner of war.” Very slowly he reached into his pocket and handed her thirty tiny white postcards tied in a ribbon.

“I received one every month. They were the glimmer of hope that helped me survive. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.” Very gently, Martha placed them back into his hands where he held them to his heart.

“Love is patient and kind. . . . Love never gives up; and its faith, hope and patience never fail” (1 Corinthians 13:4).

Shelley McEwan

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