"I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had time to make it shorter." Blaise Pascal
Several days ago, I received a letter from an old friend. It was written by hand on good stationery. It came to my home, addressed to Dr. Tacklind. It was a letter of gratitude, and it meant the world to me.
We receive so few letters like this anymore. And for that reason alone, letters have a weightiness to them. They are a gift of intentionality and time. Each word has a feeling of significance. So much meaning is conveyed in the medium alone.
But there is more to it than that. This sender is someone I no longer have contact with. It is one of those relationships where we used to spend so much time together, and then, through a variety of circumstances, have parted ways. Life is like this, but it is one of the more difficult and painful sides of life.
I found myself reading and rereading the note. There was a bit of water damage on the left side from the light rain we had received that day, and it made the ink blur a bit. As I poured over the words, I realized that I was holding a treasure. Something I would keep.
The past moments that he described triggered a multitude of memories for me. Things not forgotten, but definitely stored outside of my everyday awareness. As I read his words of thanks, my heart was filled with gratitude as well. What a gift to savor these past experiences once again.
And as I pulled out the neglected stationery from my own desk, I was able to complete this experience by writing back to him words of my own thankfulness. Pouring over each word in the limited space provided. Having to choose carefully the language that would best communicate my own heart. It took time to do well. I am reminded what a lost art this has become.
And while writing letters might not save your soul, they certainly make us deeper. Writing a letter slows us down and makes us thoughtful. We choose our words with care. It is a discipline of restraint, where less is better. And the result is a glimpse into the better parts of who I am.
Thank you, my friend, for such a wonderful gift.