Messages from a Missionary Daughter

by Susan Savage

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    Dear New Era Readers:

    Driving home from Salt Lake City where we had left our daughter Susan at the Missionary Home, we wondered where we would find her little “love note” saying the things so hard to put into spoken words at the time of parting.

    All during high school and her years away at college we had found these treasured bits, written in the quiet of night for last-minute pinning to her pillow, or to ours, or for slipping quietly under a dinner plate to be found after she’d gone. So we had come to expect and look forward to them and their blessing of comfort and the assurance that, indeed, all was well.

    We were not disappointed. Hardly had I entered the house when, putting our soiled clothes into the laundry hamper, there it was, taped inside the lid. Removing it carefully, I thought, “How strange to put it here,” until I read the words, “You are the soap and water of my soul.”

    Reading and rereading I stood shaken and tearful, until, hearing the door open quietly, I turned to face Susan’s dad. He was holding a note found taped to the steering wheel of the pick-up. We exchanged papers and I read, “Roads—red roads and brown roads, and wonderful roads you have brought me along …”

    These were the beginning. Through almost two years we have continued to find them, as she had planned, each written to fit its chosen hiding place. We hope that by sharing them with you, you can come to feel a greater closeness to your families.


    Susan Savage’s Mother

    Found taped inside the laundry hamper lid

    You are the soap and water of my soul.

    With you the shades and textures of my heart

    Are sorted out of the great pile of confusion and perplexity

    And brought back clean again!

    Fragrant with the good air of your love,

    And freshened by your sun!


    Found taped to the pick-up steering wheel


    Red roads and brown roads,

    And wonderful roads

    You have brought me along,

    To the old places, the familiar places, the new places;

    To the quiet, green places,

    To the high places,

    And the “seeing-far” places,

    And the fields.

    To so many good hours

    And many people;

    Over the dusty roads,

    And the misted roads,

    And the wet, slidey roads,

    And—best of all—With you.


    Found taped to her upstairs bedroom window

    Oh windows—

    Be open

    To the world, wide and free,

    With colors not muted

    Between you and me;

    For the blue of my heart

    Is the blue of the sky

    With still and white garlands of clouds passing by.

    And may I be green as you trees,

    And as growing,

    In a country of out-stretched becoming and knowing.


    Found much later inside the lid of her cedar chest

    Oh, dreams of yesterday,

    Hopes of tomorrow,

    From you—and those who make you—

    Let me borrow

    And give to time

    What time has given me—

    Smiles in the doorways of eternity.


    Found inside the lid of our huge sewing material bin

    I love to see—with fascination—

    The materials you have brought to me.

    What shall I make

    As from the generous store I dearly take?

    Oh, Father, watch with me

    That these may turn again to see

    A thing of beauty—and be content—

    Finding with all,

    Their all, well spent.


    Found taped inside the Christmas decorations trunk lid

    It’s Christmastime, I know

    It must be true.

    There are so many things we always do!

    In Argentina are there china bells?

    And manger scenes like ours,

    And Raphaels?

    And midget carolers in wooly shawls?

    And poinsettias for the Christmas walls?

    And dark-faced angel singers?

    And snow spray?

    And Savage people? And the Savage way?

    Oh, maybe then, there is a place forlorn,

    Maybe a place where He has not been born.


    Found in one of her father’s favorite books

    This is the house

    of books!

    This is the house

    of endless things

    to learn

    and do

    and make.


    to find my home

    in this house!


    Found in the box holding her gold-framed mirror

    Daddy and Mama

    Mirrors of you!

    Oh, mirrors of you!

    Oh, may I have starshine

    Of lovely review,

    Of the goodness

    And gentleness,

    Life full and true,

    And those dear

    Shining moments

    Of which one asks few,

    Which, through

    All of my days,

    Are the mirrors

    Of you.


    Found in the pocket of my temple suitcase

    Thank you,

    Thank you!

    For you are

    temples to me,

    pure and sturdy,

    white and erect,

    into whose lovely

    peaceful rooms

    I have been allowed

    to step.


    Illustrated by Peggy Proctor