email. text messages. instant messenger. the facebook status. the facebook comment. and if you want to go “personal” you have the facebook message.
forget pen to paper. it has been replaced. by us.
what have we done?
Writing used to be the way wars were started or stopped. the way love was professed. the way slaves found their way to the free side. writing was the way we held on to the special things, stories, lives… writing could change the way life was.
and now we update our status. don’t get me wrong, cultural literacy is fascinating and has its place. but. in our efforts to swim with the flow of our ever changing world, we have lost something.
ah, the letter.
I received many “love letters” as a teen and even on into college. One I distinctly remember began, ” Dear Lindsay (..must mean beautiful).” Even now, I am transported back in time to the symphonic band concert in the Wren High School auditorium where I unfolded the letter and read it as my friends Melissa and KB squealed over my shoulder.
Bobby Powell got it right. Not by his comment, but in knowing that a letter held (and evoked) great power and passion. It lasts. beyond years and relationships. It has the power to transport.. to comfort… to tell the truth we may not be able to say out loud.
I am reflecting over this in hindsight. Apparently, I am now a letter writer. I just realized it today as I added two more letters to my “sent box.” It began as 1 letter I wrote to my hero of teacher heroes. The second was to my principal advocating for myself to take off work a 1/2 day to see my hero of heroes teach one more time. What could have taken 1 paragraph turned into a full page. Note: lesson 1-putting your heart on the page can change people’s mind. Then came the note to my old clarinet professor, Dr. Robert Chesebro. I felt like Martin Luther as I wrote with great passion and tacked my letter firmly in the center of his door. It was no 95 Theses, but I put my heart on the page and wrote to the man who introduced me to great beauty in the realm of music and life. I miss him. And he needed to know what he’d done for me. So I told him. in a letter.
There’s something sweet about powerful words that last.
Who do you need to tell something to? Whose door would you tack a letter of the heart to?
They hold and evoke so much, don’t they? Sometimes they are merely to deal with the heart, or to share thankfulness. Other times, they are for encouragement. A those few, special times, they are asking people to take a chance on you. But they are there. Oh are they there. In our hearts, waiting to be shared.
.. so go! write.. risk… share…
it’s all worth it.