Letter in a bottle


Two years ago I found a bottle on the beach. Encrusted with barnacles, it looked as if had been floating upon the oceans for a very long time. It was the kind of bottle that might have contained a note. I looked, of course, but it was empty. It was like a letter without words. Just a little capsule of floating air. The romantic in me felt strangely disappointed.


I once wrote a letter to someone in prison. It was just a random stranger in another country and I hardly expected to receive a reply. Yet, three weeks later an envelope arrived in the mail. The words read: “Your letter found me like a message in a bottle.” To him it was a life-giving ray of sunshine from an outer world that he might never see again. He was just 24 year old – with a life sentence for aggravated assault. It gave him hope at a time that he felt he could no longer live. And it changed the way I looked at bottles forever.


Today I found another empty bottle on the beach. I have been searching bottles on beaches for all my life – always vainly hoping to find a note one day. But then it struck me – perhaps that bottle was not meant to bring a message to me. Perhaps it was washed up by the storms of life so that I should send another message to some lost and drifting soul – a beachcomber of life who is searching for a caring word from anyone at all….


There are many forms of prisons out there – and most of them do not have bars. There are many beaches and many bottles. Have you ever considered sending a letter of hope in a bottle to someone who needs it?