When I was a young girl, I used to sit on my porch and write about the weather. How the leaves fell from trees like lovers shaken lose from a hug. How, even when the skies howled and raged and spit at the earth, it was beautiful and frightening and inviting all bundled together in excited expectation. I also used to write about my own pain, about loneliness and regrets, love and hate. In the hallways of school, I would hand to my friend a letter, folded eight times over to best keep its secrets, and she would roll her eyes to the heavens, but nod and smile and humor my obsessive need to express myself with the written word.
Twenty-six years later, she still has those letters. She has those letters and journals I’d filled book by book, which she pulled from my hands before they were put to the curb, full of teen angst and forgotten. When I asked her why she kept them, her response was quick with simple explanation: “Because it’s you. Why would I throw you away?”
And this is what it means to write a letter. This is what it means to be remembered and valued.
In an age during which people shimmy from one hurried task to the next, the idea of writing a letter is often full of nostalgia, but easily dismissed. I’m here to tell you, nothing shows a soul more naked than a thought, a sentence, a word considered with more purpose and intent that those which are spoken or those which are typed, often without reflection at all.
As we approach the holiday seasons, I ask of you each to take a moment, be thoughtful and write those thoughts down. Share them with loved ones and laugh or cry, consider them with a contemplative nod or follow them with insightful conversation. But write. Write anything. Write to anyone, but just stop your shimmy and breathe. With that breath ruminate on your opinions of others, your opinions of the world, your observations or philosophies, and then put it to paper and share it with someone who matters. Or someone who could matter.
I guarantee you they will remember it. They will remember you. They will define their experience with you by the care you’ve taken with words and thoughts, and will respect you and honor your efforts by carrying it with them.
Bonnie Lane at Bonnie Lou Lane Cards & Art is having a contest on her blog to celebrate and foster the art of writing letters and notes to loved ones on special occasions or for no occasion at all! Comment on her blog for a chance to win three of her fabulous art cards. These cards are prints from her own artwork, born from her own immensely creative hands, and giving these cards as a gift with a note of love and thanks to those you hold most dear will not only support small business, creativity and art, but also supports the under-appreciated practice of writing a letter.
Now find yourself a pen and write!