Hope Chronicles: Mellie Blake
Welcome to the final day of The Hope Chronicles.
The Hope Chronicles is a blog hop and journal between 5 historical romance authors. Our desire is to bring you lasting hope through these letters, grounded in the hope of our Lord that does not disappoint, and written from the fictional viewpoints of each book’s heroine. We’re so glad to have you join the event. Each day this week, a new Hope Chronicles post will go live, complete with a journal entry and a new giveaway for that blog post.
Today’s entry comes from Lt. Mellie Blake, US Army Nurse Corps, written on February 22, 1943 from Oran, Algeria, where she has just landed in order to serve as a flight nurse for wounded Allied soldiers in North Africa. Mellie is the heroine of my most recent novel, With Every Letter (Revell, September 2012), Book 1 in the Wings of the Nightingale series.
|Anna at work|
Here is a copy of Mellie’s entry in the Hope Chronicles journal and the nightingale drawn in the journal by my talented daughter, Anna…
The Greater Hope: Mellie’s Letter
My heart sings with the joy of hope fulfilled, muted by the tension of hope deferred. Today I received a letter from the Red Cross stating you are alive but in a Japanese prison camp for civilians at Santo Tomas in the Philippines.
At last I can write you! However, the Japanese allow only a paltry twenty-four words in the body of the letter, so I’ll express the rest of my thoughts on these pages instead.
Over a year has passed since the Japanese invaded the Philippines, and even longer since you persuaded me to return stateside. If only I’d convinced you to join me, but I know my botanist father would never leave when his favorite flowers are in bloom.
|Flight nurses in training at the School of Air Evacuation
Bowman Field, Kentucky
We’ve always been a pair, and I hate the thought of you alone. I wish I could relieve your worries. I am doing well. As we discussed, I joined the Army Nurse Corps. Recently I became a flight nurse, an exciting new profession that combines my call to nursing with my love of adventure. When you named me Philomela, meaning “nightingale,” did you know one day I’d truly bring mercy on wing?
While I wish they could have sent my squadron west to the Pacific, closer to you, we sailed east to the Mediterranean. The Americans and British landed in Morocco and Algeria in November and are now fighting the Germans in Tunisia. Yesterday we landed in Oran, Algeria. You would love the hibiscus and bougainvillea.
For the past year I’ve lived in dread for you, scarcely overcome by hope. With no word about your safety, I faced the possibility of a life alone. But God provided others to comfort and encourage me.
Two of the nurses in my squadron, Georgie and Rose, have become such dear friends. I also correspond anonymously with an Army engineer I’ve nicknamed Ernest. He and I have much in common, things we can share in the freedom of anonymity. He’s a good man, Papa, and you needn’t worry about broken hearts. Anonymity is too precious for each of us.
I don’t know what conditions you face in Santo Tomas, whether you’re getting enough food or how you’re treated. But I pray for you constantly.
I pray the Americans will invade the Philippines soon, and you’ll come home safe and healthy and whole. This hope may or may not be attained.
While the possibility of not seeing you again on this earth grieves me, I cling to the greater hope.
No matter what the Japanese do, no matter what disease and deprivation do, no matter what shells and bombs do, nothing can strip away this hope.
No matter what, you and I will be united in heaven forever with our beloved Savior! The joy I experienced today is nothing compared to the joy of that glorious day!
Jeremiah 17:7 says, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” Oh, Papa, this is so true. Despite our hardship and separation, we are blessed when we trust in Him.
These are evil days, ruled by evil men, but “Thou art my hope in the day of evil” (Jeremiah 17:17).
The Lord is present in our separation, comfort in your suffering, and strength in my weakness. He is Father to me and the truest friend in loneliness. That is the hope no enemy can kill.
My dear Papa, while I rejoice in the news that you live, I rejoice more deeply knowing you share this strength-giving hope.
As I finish this letter—never to be mailed—but one day, I pray, to be shared in your presence—I sing one of your favorite hymns, “The Solid Rock.”
You cannot hear my voice, but the Lord will carry the message to your heart…
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In ev’ry high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way.
He then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand—
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
With all my love,
From your little nightingale,