Connections through Letters
My grandmother went to China as a missionary nurse, where she met my grandfather. She wrote many letters to her sister, which my aunt has (but won't go into that family drama here). My grandmother also wrote many letters to us (my dad, mom, brother and myself). This was a time of no cell phones, no Internet, no social media.
I, myself had made many trips to China, the first at age 8, when I met my grandparents for the first time (and the only time I met my grandfather). The next was what was not a funeral, or a celebration of life, but a presentation honoring my grandfather's life.
Two trips later, my dad and I made a special trip, just the two of us. This was prior to me living in China for a year and a half.
Throughout these trips and time abroad, journals were written (which I am not able to locate) and many letters were written. Thankfully, I have letters that I wrote to my family that they kept, along with the ones I received. It was suggested that I write a book. It has been overwhelming to consider that at this point in time, just three months after my father's passing. I started organizing the letters and that was also a challenge. A friend of mine suggested that I transcribe the letters (either by typing or handwriting) and eventually scanning. I have been doing this using Microsoft's One Note feature, as I can type it, sync it to other devices, share it with my family, and scan the letters in....they are all in one place. It is a major project that will take time but it will be worth the effort. This also allows me to reflect on those letters. Will they eventually become a book? I am not sure at this point..............only time can tell.
I have been thinking of the power of letter writing. Every letter I wrote, or received contained the phrase, "I am waiting for the letter.....". We live in a time of instant...instant everything....gratification - if you want it, and have the resources to do so, you get it immediately. Messages, email, text messages are instant. I traveled to China and lived there in a time when there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, no Tik-Tok. It took 2 weeks minimum....and sometimes longer to receive a letter. There were deeper conversations back then that I don't see now in any of the social media that exist today.
What if we could bring back that sense of connection through letter writing? So here is my challenge to you........ pick one friend or family member .... a stranger and write him or her a letter. You can write about anything. Let's see if a response is received - and how it is received.
You may make someone's day - or year. I know the cards we received for Christmas were more numerous and appreciated..... but it shouldn't just be when there is a death or a holiday.... it can be just because you are thinking about this person.