Yesterday I got a lovely letter from a friend, complimenting me on a blog post I’d written a few weeks ago on our new teacher evaluation system. You may be wondering why she didn’t just leave a comment? After all, wasn’t she already on the computer to read it? Why switch media?
First, a practical matter. Reene’s letter was far longer than any comment box would allow because she crafted her words to follow a pattern. She started every paragraph with “I wanted to see you today, but…” Every sentence was filled with specific details from our friendship together like catching up over steel cut oatmeal at Panera or long walks with dogs in the sunshine. And of course, references to what I’d written were in there too, including a request for an autograph. That’s the kind of writing that requires you to mull things over, not the quick responses usually elicited in comments.
Reene also knows the pleasure of finding something other than bills in your mailbox. Of knowing that someone cared enough to sit with pen and paper to reach out to you, struggled to find just the right words to capture her thoughts after choosing just the right stationery for the occasion. Never mind then finding a stamp and tramping out to the mailbox to post it. Did you notice the use of the word post? For centuries before social media, people communicated through the post. I love it when people still do and usually keep the cards and letters people send me. A colleague who’s recovering from breast cancer covered a bulletin board with all of the cards she received while undergoing treatment so that her students understand the power of the written word to inspire others.
Those that were sent to me when I lost loved ones in my life or even in happier times have inspired me to be sure to send notes of my own. Not the perfunctory, obligatory condolence or congratulations on your retirement card, but something more heartfelt. If it makes me feel good to be thanked for a job well done or when I’m troubled to receive a cheery card from a pal, I’ll wager others feel the same way. Let’s follow Reene’s example some time in the next two weeks. Think of a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, someone worthy of your attention, someone like Reene who is a true friend and a good writer too if you’re lucky, and jot her a note to let her know you’re thinking of her. Who knows? Maybe you’ll end up the subject of a blogpost too.
I’m participating in the Slice of Life Challenge. Won’t you join me?