I came across a letter Dad had written to Mom way back when. In their very early years (like year one or something) of their marriage, Dad was in basic training for the Air Force. He was just about to be stationed in Michigan when my brother was born. Mom went home to her family to have Randy in the hospital in Mississippi. This letter was written two months after Randy was born. I was shocked when I found it. "Dad wrote you letters?!?!" I asked Mom. She sort of shrugged and waived it off with a "your Dad used to write me letters" like whatever. I didn't even know my Dad could write whole sentences, let alone a three page letter. I mean, I could see him sending a card signed "I love you", but not actual letters. He told Mom how much he loved her and how important Randy was to him. He talked about all the fun stuff they'd get to do in Michigan, all the camping and fishing. He was very excited about possibly visiting Canada. It was a letter of love and hopes and dreams for their future together. And it was sweet.
It was a side of Dad I'd never seen. I love catching that glimpse of him at that age. I love the excitement I could hear in his words. I love most of all that he took the time to write it all down. Of course this was back in the day before email and texting. Long distance phone calls were expensive. Letters where how people communicated. I remember when texting became a thing and how I would never be into that. Now I'd rather send a text than talk on the phone. I'm supposed to call the home improvement company this week about how they said it would be 8-10 weeks and it's been 11 weeks and I'd like to have my bathroom done by Thanksgiving and I am dreading using my voice and talking on the phone to whine about this. I dread about 80% any verbal conversation. Sometimes I think I'd be better off walking around carrying a piece of chalk with a small chalkboard tied around my neck. Text is simple, to the point and concise (if in the proper hands). I don't have to worry that I'm calling someone at an inopportune time and bothering them.
There is a downside of course. It's taken away the art of telling our daily stories. Let's be honest. If someone sends you a text asking "how are you doing?", you're probably not going to send them a lengthy reply about how things are really going. You're most likely to send back a simple "fine" or "good". You're not going to go on about how you and the family had colds last week, but all seem to be getting better now. The text will end there with the originator replying with something like "that's cool". And the day to day story of our lives become edited to "fine" and "OK". Writing an actual letter takes time particularly when using fingers more used to keyboards than pens. Yet, there is a sweet calmness in writing a letter. There's something about taking the time to form those letters and words. There is mindfulness in the composition. There is a little excitement in putting a stamp on the envelope and sending that letter off. I'm still naive enough to be thrilled by the romance of the postal service. Admit it. Those times you peak in the mailbox and find something other than junk or a bill, you get a little excited. There's joy and love and hope waiting inside the mailbox.
Maybe the best way we could spend a Love Thursday today is to sit down and write a letter. And then send it.
Happy Love Thursday.