Thursday, February 8, 2007

Just Thinking

Sometimes we think what we write is so important (at least some of us – make that me), that upon our demise others will surely sift through the morass and mess of our personal writings to find all the gems buried therein.

Unfortunately, I just don’t think that is true. Having owned my aunt and uncle’s diaries for years without any attempt at systematic reading and cataloging has convinced me of the error of such thinking. (And perhaps convicted me that not much time should go by without doing some work there!)

Hence my premise that letter writing, that (all but) forgotten art practiced by thoughtful folks like my mother, is perhaps the best medium for any writer (wannabe or otherwise). Consider the following. None but the most popular of authors writes for a known audience. Only the professorial fraternity can write for an audience who will engage in the discussion (and sometimes dissection) of their work as a given fact, at least in their classes.

Truly, letter writers are the only ones who have any hope of having the sheaves of their labor stored away lovingly in some shoebox or armoire drawer, among the book leaves in the library or lovingly enshrined in the lingerie drawer of the beloved. Of course, there is the nearly as great chance that they will disappear in tomorrow’s trash, along with the newspaper and the stale bread, a chance that clearly needs to be taken!

Blog writers have their own set of problems. Will anyone read this? Will the blog site stay up? Will those who read this care – understand – appreciate – sympathize with its content? Does what I say mean anything to the reader? Sure the comments come back, but we don’t even know many who write back. Blogging is perhaps more like an attempt at “random letter writing,” producing a letter and picking a few hundred names and addresses at random and sending copies of the same letter to all!

Perhaps blogging is our 21st century answer to a society that no longer sends or values snail mail. How tenuous are the connections we feel – touching more people and more information than ever, yet disconnected in our personal relationships. We cast our electronic net into the cyberspace world of internet readers, in the hopes that there is someone out there who is interested in communicating their thoughts and intentions via the written word. And when we pull in the net, sometimes they are full, sometimes they are not. But there is that chance . . .

So these blogs won’t end up in someone’s dresser or in the attic, saved but lost, but they may end up touching someone’s life, providing challenge, encouragement or comfort as the case may be.

Which brings me to my point. Whether blogging or letter writing, or talking with loved ones and friends, make every word meaningful, every thought revealing of the heart. Be willing to run the gamut of emotions, even be ready to be wrong. Then when the response comes, make the most of it. For we are so short a time upon this earth, and too often afflicted and troubled in our days. Make every word, every contact, each touch or look count. Tomorrow is no guarantee. Know where you are going, Who and What you believe in, as you live Today!

And write – often – and as much as you can. A few words on a simple card from Dad can mean the world. Looking through Grandma’s personal effects after she’s gone should reveal a lifetime of living. Did she leave you written keepsakes of her passing by here? Did you leave her any such remembrances?

Which brings me to my other point. I know a woman who has some boxes and notebooks of writing saved (some might even be in her lingerie drawer!). That woman is my wife, the companion of a lifetime. As with all husbands, I take her for granted all too often, and forget that she is not Superwoman (appearances to the contrary). But over the years, I’ve gathered together a few simple cards, scratched some poetry or other nonsense on a notebook sheet and sent them to her, even scratched out a few sorry sketches. These poor offerings speak volumes to her, though, becoming soul-links that help in the making of one-flesh, one-heart.

When I was on the cusp of life or death, there was already a lifetime of memories and shared values to strengthen her who would have remained behind alone. She would have been strengthened, by the Lord’s help, to complete the task of raising a family, and of helping others as the Lord has purposed. A key component in her strength though would have been the shared memories and values as reflected and chronicled in the writing she has saved.

So think about your own investments. We can’t guarantee that those who should hear what we have to share will actually hear it or value it. But like the sower in the fourth chapter of Mark, we must carefully but indiscriminately scatter the seed of our investment in every quarter and every manner, and especially in the medium of writing.

Which brings me to my other other point. We already have such a collection of letters from our own Father. Let us not neglect their time honored and proven value in our lives. Taking ever His example to our hearts, may we passionately and sacrificially invest in those who follow. Write on.


Elise said...

I love this -
But like the sower in the fourth chapter of Mark, we must carefully but indiscriminately scatter the seed of our investment in every quarter and every manner, and especially in the medium of writing.
Always aware, always, that we are reflecting the Light, or should be.
That other collection you speak of, the one of which we can find hundreds of variations on shelves at bookstores; it is so easily found, not so easily lived. Thank you for the gentle prodding to turn there first for our life inspiration, and not merely other blogs! :)

Anonymous said...

This was so inspiring Kevin - and poignant! I can just picture the mismatched slips of papers your beloved has saved from you all these years. Mostly because I, too, have saved mismatched slips from my own beloved for 7 years now, and while they are few and far between these days, they are still so precious to me.