Rule 52: Write Letters

Rule 52: Write Letters

I watch my kids and realize that the way they communicate with one another has become a world of sound bites. Text, instagram, and twitter have become the preferred forms of communication with telephone calls being used for only the most serious of issues.   It feels like if you can’t communicate it 140 characters the feeling isn’t worth having.

I urge you to re-discover another form of communication, a letter. Some of the most interesting things I have learned about life have come from reading the letters of others.

Any true romantic has to read the letters between Elizabeth Barret Browning and Robert Browning, they defined the art of the love letter..

And now listen to me in turn.
You have touched me more profoundly than I thought even you could have touched me – my heart was full when you
came here today. Henceforward I am yours for everything

Love Letter from Elizabeth Barrett to Robert Browning
(10 January 1846)

Now that’s communication that will last, and defines you far more than the text…” u r hot” does. The letter helps you stop, and think about your feelings and find the words that capture the moment- it requires both effort and caring. Just the joy of of opening a hand addressed envelope, and anticipation of reading someone’s thoughts is wonderful to feel.

We named Abigail after Abigail Adams because of her letters to John. If you have never read them I encourage you to, she was a remarkable woman who lived in extraordinary times yet found time to express deep love for her husband.

My Dearest Friend,

…should I draw you the picture of my Heart, it would be what I hope you still would Love; tho it contained nothing new; the early possession you obtained there; and the absolute power you have ever maintained over it; leaves not the smallest space unoccupied. I look back to the early days of our acquaintance; and Friendship, as to the days of Love and Innocence; and with an indescribable pleasure I have seen near a score of years roll over our Heads, with an affection heightened and improved by time — nor have the dreary years of absence in the smallest degree effaced from my mind the Image of the dear untitled man to whom I gave my Heart…”

That lady knew how to turn a phrase. I’m sure John was knocked off his heels when he read that letter. I also found it so cool that although John addressed his letters with things like “Dear Adorable” she always used “My dearest friend”, which I find amazingly romantic and sweet. Even after all the years since she wrote them they allow the reader to instantly feel the emotion at the time it was first written, and first read. It lasts.

I started thinking about letters today because of the anniversary of my Mom’s passing 15 years ago. And one of the things, among many others, that I regret is that I never took the time to write her a letter.  Oh. I’m sure I gave her cards with short notes in them, but I never took the time to sit down and really write her a letter of my thoughts about her, and how she impacted my world. So today I started to write a long overdue letter to her and intend to address it to myself, mail it and keep it sealed. ( you can open it after I’m not longer here… so in about 60 years)

I decided not to share that letter because letters are not like blog postings. Letters are extremely inmate. They express emotions is a raw way that the shotgun blasts of the internet would do an injustice to the words. I think they need to be private, and shared in the same format they were intending- one on one- a personal experience.

Also my Mom was not a very tech savvy person, and even with divine intervention she would be challenged to open the blog. And I’m sure Dad would not be much help as he struggles to find channel 8 on the cable TV of heaven.

She’s was a pen and paper type of person and I think I need to honor her as such and stay with that format.  But as a teaser to that future reading of the letter I do use Abigail’s opening of “my dearest friend”.

With Mother’s day approaching I can think of no kinder way of expressing your love and gratitude to a Mom than a thoughtful letter. Try to do it while they are still here, trust me it is a lot easier to write it then.

I do miss you my dearest friend.










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