Write Me a Letter

2 Corinthians 3:2

For the last several weeks, I’ve been in the process (the long, drawn out process) of moving. I sold my house, and I decided I could spare the extra cash to have movers do it for me. They took a whole week to pack everything from the house to a storage room; strike that, three storage rooms. I’ve been trying to find a rental, but everything keeps falling through. I’m 57 years old and living with my mother, but at least I’m not in the basement.  I am supposed to sign papers on a duplex in the next day or so and move on the weekend. I feel…cautiously optimistic.

Moving isn’t my point, though. My point is something that happened in the process – the long drawn out process. I came across two boxes of letters.  One box contained the letters I had written to Kimberly when we were engaged. The other box contained letters she had written to me.  I had accepted a full-time position as Youth and Education Minister, and she was staying with her parents and working as a bank teller. Our jobs were 130 miles and two hours apart, so for the last six months of our engagement, we wrote daily letters.  I don’t mean we emailed; that hadn’t been invented yet. We wrote, by hand with ink pens, on stationary, addressed envelopes, bought stamps, and dropped them in a mailbox, then waited for a response.  Once a month, we talked on the phone, the kind with a handset connected to a spirally cord connected to a wall mounted base. Long distance calls were billed at $ .40 per minute. One month, we lost track of time, and talked for over an hour. It almost broke me financially, so we wrote letters.

love letter

I won’t take the time here to describe in detail the contents of the letters. Most of them were comprised of the predictable, “I love you… I miss you… I can’t wait until we are finally together.” Many times, we would describe our day, what we did, where we went, who we saw, what we ate for Sunday dinner, and all the other seemingly meaningless details. They weren’t meaningless, though. Those were ways of including each other in our daily lives. Not only that, we could go back again and again, on those days when loneliness set in, and read about each other’s undying love. I used to go home from work, look in the mailbox, and either be thrilled by seeing that flowered scented envelope, or be mildly disappointed by its absence, thinking, “Oh well, maybe it will come tomorrow.” If the letter was there, I would settle down in a comfortable space and let her words soak into my soul.

A couple of weeks ago, as I read these letters over again, I contemplated how communication has changed. Now, communication – or what passes for it – is executed almost exclusively on our cellular devices. I intentionally use this term because the telephone function of modern devices seems to be the one least used.  There is an un-advertised pitfall inherent with these devices. We get addicted to immediacy; we expect instant responses.  Now, I whip off 50 characters or less, then five minutes later I think, “Hey! Are you avoiding me?? I know you have your phone there. You ALWAYS have your phone. You’re always looking at it!” Silence leaves my mind trying to fill in the blanks.  That’s multiple choice.  (A) I’m being ignored.    (B) The person is busy and can’t talk.   (C) I’m being ignored.    (D) All the above. These are hasty unfair judgments to the other person.

Growing up, I had only seen one cellular phone. It belonged to my great uncle, Forest. “Frosty,” as his friends knew him, was an oil man. Large oil companies provided their important employees a car phone to conduct important oil man business. I was so impressed. My uncle was so important, he had a phone in his car – IN HIS CAR! I never imagined a world where everyone from grade-school children to grandmothers would have such a thing. I also never imagined a normally laid-back and easy-going person, such as myself, would get sucked into the trap of immediacy.  (Please don’t pretend you have never fallen into that same trap.)  Sometimes, the very thing that is designed to enhance communication and bring us together can also hinder meaningful discourse.

I always prefer face-to-face communication. You can see the other person’s eyes, and you can see if that person is smiling or frowning. The next best thing is a voice call. Hearing a person’s intonation and inflection yields a true rendering of attitude. A letter, though, slows down the process for both the writer and the reader, so our mind and spirit can fully absorb the message. When the nights got long, we had our letters. We were ahead of our time, though. We used emoticons.  Kimberly was always fond of drawing a smiley face or a heart in just the right place, emphasizing her affections.

Reading a message written in the person’s handwriting on a parchment she has intentionally chosen with you in mind – that process communicates thoughtful intent and includes a bit of her soul.  Jesus did that.  He wrote love letters to us with his life.  He wrote in his own blood on the wood of the cross.  Our lives are letters back to him. Each year, I attempt to read through each of God’s letters. Some, like Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Leviticus, are sometimes seemingly frivolous details. Some, like the Gospels, are the story of how our love evolved.  Some, like the Prophets, are challenging, as my failings in this relationship are lovingly pointed out. Some, like Revelation, are about our future plans.  Let me encourage you today to put down your device and go read one of your love letters. After that, choose someone special in your life, and write them a letter.

Published in: on April 3, 2018 at 11:10 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Recently, I. have been discarding cards and some letters from our children! It is funny, sobering, and enlightening. Many are being kept for posterity to read or discard!!!!!

  2. ❤🖒🖒

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