Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Power of the Written Word

I was cleaning up today, and as I gazed around the dining room looking for articles out of place, my eyes rested on a pile of cards. Nothing belonging to the kids, but a stack of letters and cards that have been arriving in the mail since we lost Stephen.

I gazed at them for a moment. They have collected on a cherry hutch since mid-June. The first few weeks after our loss, they came every day, many in each mail delivery. As the weeks passed, the flow of sympathy cards diminished, but their power did not.

I found every bit of condolences offered as very touching. In this technological world, many of the messages we received were over Facebook, email or texts. Those were great. They were nearly instantaneous and greeted me every time I sat down at the computer. But there was something special in those cards. The fact that someone took the time to carefully select a sympathy card, and then to write a personal note acknowledging our pain was immeasurably comforting.

Feeling the grace and kindness from others expressed in a handwritten letter has been incredibly healing. I am resolved to be better about it myself as I encounter others who grieve. And less you are tempted to think that it is too late to send a card, that too much time has gone by since your friend experienced a loss, let it be known that some of the most touching letters we received arrived weeks, even months after our loss. Please don't think that the time frame matters as much as the sentiment. I know people who have cherished notes even years after their loss, knowing that someone realizes they still mourn.

I decided to put those cards away today. But not before I read each and every one of them over again, pausing for a moment to relish each sentiment. The tears came, as my heart swelled with the remembrance of each grace given in every note. I tucked them into the box of things I have for Stephen and put them away in my closet. Out of sight, but of course, never out of mind.

So if I can encourage you to say something to those grieving around you, can I also encourage you to write something? Take whatever time you need to do it, but do it nonetheless. I guarantee you will bless the hurting around you.


Rachel said...

Beautifully said, Friend. Thanks for sharing your heart. ♥

Miscellaneous From Missy said...

You have especially encouraged me with this post, because I am one of those who writes the card, but never mails it. Then I find it a few months later and feel like it is too late to be a blessing to my friends, and it grieves me deeply.

Because of your words, I am going to mail the next card I find no matter what time it is. (Although I may alter the wording a bit, or add a ps.) I wonder who in my life God has just used YOU to bless. Powerful written words, my friend.