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Letters from an Ancient Mind

My dear young friend,

It is kind of you to enquire. Yes, my sight of late has declined; my letters are getting larger, I suppose. Things at a distance have long been a fog; now I find that things at hand require more study too. I do not think it blindness, just my age.

You are mistaken, however, about my reaction to it. There is no thought in me that God has been harsh or unjust to me. Indeed, my thought is quite the opposite. But behind that there is a tale to tell. My children have heard it too many times, but I now have a new audience.

As a young lad I was a clumsy lout. I took it into my head that there was nothing I touched that I would not break. My father, God give him peace, often lost patience with his son in this matter. It became so bad that I sought the aid of a priest, thinking to enter a monastery. My thought was that I was doomed to punishment, but that perhaps God would accept me if I took up the cowl.

Of course, I would have been miserable as a monk, too. I thought that the difficulty was with God when it was with myself. I need not tell you how we talked, or how God spoke to me in dreams. You need merely know that I was soon convinced that it was not my lot to suffer greatly for God. God gives his spiritual gifts as He sees fit, and a tolerance for suffering is not one He gave me. Can you imagine me as a monk? As our priest pointed out, even the Apostles did not choose their own place of service. I had visions of doing great things for Christ. It seems Christ had visions of me doing plain things for Him. The Divine Carpenter knows the tools of his hand. I am a dull chisel.

The result has been almost embarrassing. God has been too good to me. I have received long life, a loving wife, fine sons and beautiful daughters, the wealth of this world in good measure and many other things beside. Should I then complain of my trivial sufferings? The decay of my sight is nothing compared to my blessings. Indeed, it is a lesson in humility as well.

To all this you may add the blessing of peace. For I know my Lord is faithful, and at the last day I shall see him face to face—with clear eyes. In this life we see things as in a play, not knowing what ending the Author intends. But He sees it as the playwright, knowing every line. In the last act all shall be renewed and we shall see Him.

On that day we shall meet. It will be a large crowd, but do not fear. We will have all of eternity to meet. I shall enjoy hearing of the marvels of your time from your own lips.

Until then, I remain,

Isaac the alchemist

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