Monday, January 4, 2010

The Value of Putting Pen to Paper

I was given several meaningful gifts this year from loved ones who were happy to spend some of their hard-earned money and/or creative abilities to put a smile on my face (and don't get me wrong, it worked!), but one of the most valuable gifts I received didn't cost anything at all.

This priceless gift came in the form of a letter from one of my sons––the one who isn't too big on discussing the touchy-feely things in life but decided to go way beyond his usual comfort zone and tell me, in writing, how he feels about me. What's more, he did the same for his father, grandmother, and grandfather...And I don't need to tell you that they valued their notes from him every bit as much as I did. In fact, my mom was just waxing warm and tearful over hers on the phone this weekend. (I've gotten a little misty about mine a few times, too.)

Wonderful as it is to share with people how we feel about them in person, there's something special about putting those feelings in writing. Being able to hold an honest expression of love in your hands, gently place it in a nook or cranny with other treasures, then get it out to read all over again when your spirit needs a boost, is soul-satisfying.

I would guess that each one of us has a secret spot where we keep those little things that are most precious to us. What a blessing it is to be able to visit that spot again and again, filling our hearts and cups with the knowledge that we love and are loved...that we make a difference in the lives of others...that the things we do and are really matter.

I've read a lot lately about how writing is rapidly becoming a lost art, and I worry that technology is robbing us of something sweet and simple...maybe even sacred. The written word is a beautiful thing, and capturing it in a loved one's handwriting adds a dimension of intimacy that can't be replicated.

My hope today is that the time-honored value of putting pen to paper will be preserved for generations to come. (And boy, am I grateful to my son...and other loved ones at various times...for doing their part!)


Jess said...

I have to agree, there's nothing better than the treasure box of love notes and other gestures of kindness that are tangible. I love getting (and sending) letters and cards, I just wish I had prettier penmanship.

p.s. thanks for the grape juice trick, we will be employing that around every major holiday form now on

jen said...

That's funny. I thought I was the only one with a treasure drawer of notes. Not alone, not alone.
And now my curiosity is piqued--grape juice trick?

KC Mom said...

I love penmanship and so I practice writing but I don't often put it to good use. Letters like the one you got are priceless. I hold on to them forever.
Which reminds me....I need to send thank you cards!

Jill said...

I needed to read this to help motivate me to write my thank you notes. How thoughtful of your son. I'm sure you will keep that letter forever. I remember a friend of mine mentioning to me once that her mom at the end of her life when she was too ill to any longer get out of bed...had on her nightstand a little shoe box with letters from her children through the years. Those letters obviously meant more to her than anything.

karen said...

What a wonderful gift! Every once in awhile I'll pull out the box(es) that contain all of the old Mother's Day notes,etc. - never fails to bring me to tears! But to have such a treasure from a grown son - well, that's priceless.

Amy said...

My husband and I werediscussing this very thing not too long ago. He was talking about the poorpenmanship that is so prevelant today. He said penmanship used to be an art because it was the way one would present themselves. You can tell a lot about a person just by looking at their hand writing. It is so sad that people are neglecting hand written sentiments. I was laughed at because I insisted on sending out Christmas Newsletters rather than just emailing them. Granted I did type them up, but I felt I wanted to add a personal touch (each card had a hand written note in it), and email just isn't that personal! How wonderful that your son sent you such a letter of how he feels about you. Really, the most treasured gifts come from the heart.

Em said...

thank you letters are the lost art my stepmom taught us to never lose. i have a journal that i write it for big events. i think one of the last ones was when i wrote down brennan's "birth" story. haha, can't believe it's been that long! there may have been one or two since then. thank goodness for the blog. love that it has become my daily journal.

erinTphotography said...

It was great to meet you at the baptism and I am enjoying catching up on your are an amazing writer. I would love to do a photo shoot for your family...Heather will probably need a break by then, haha! As it gets closer, you can let me know if you are thinking of the 24th or the 31st of July?
All my best to you for a purposeful 2010!

Darlene said...

Yes, Sue, as you know, I treasure my note from Todd too. Dick and I both agreed it was our best gift of the season. Considering all he has been through and how far he has come, it is just the bestest of the best. How I do love that kid.

I love this post because it is so expressive. Golly, but you do have a way with words, my dear. I would love to have said the exact same thing and yet I know that my abilities are limited. I just wish that everyone could read your blog. A lot of my friends read it pretty much daily and are glad that they do. Just keep up the good work. You are so right, writing letters IS a lost art. Nobody I know actually sits down and writes a letter, puts it in an envelope and mails it. Yes, perhaps a note in a card sent on a special occasion, but I have boxes of letters that friends and family have written years and years ago. Thank heavens I have so many. There is a lot of good history in them and one day I will return all the ones you wrote me from the time you went to college. How I do treasure them.

Momza said...

You are so right. A handwritten note is about as personal as one can get and means so much. One of the boys DIana has been dating, did the very same thing yesterday! NO kdding! He wrote each of us notes, expressed his gratitude for our support and friendship as he prepared to go on a mission. It is a tender gift indeed.
And I save every Thank You note I rec'v.

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