The written word

In an era marked by sore thumbs from rampant texting and Tweeting, the written word seems to have faded into the communicative background, or at best, been shortened, squeezed, and compressed into an abbreviated form of its former self. Sure, the written word still has its place. But as the price of postage rises, and the convenience of communicating by email, social media, and cell phones continues to improve, how many of us really write?

Not many.

This is not necessarily all bad. I’m very grateful for the advent of blogging. As someone who constantly corrals whirling notions in her brain, my blogs are a great creative connection to the world at large. And despite the frustrations resulting from Facebook’s unnecessary and frequently annoying technical changes, I’m grateful for opportunities to reconnect with old friends, family who live in other places, and former students and colleagues.

Writing, for me, has evolved into something new. I’ve embraced the way technology has affected the way I connect with others. But I am one of the stalwart, stubborn few who still insist on sending real thank you cards. I send my grandma handwritten cards and letters. I love nothing more than receiving handwritten sentiments from loved ones in the mail.

In my desk drawer sits a stack of lovely assorted cards and letters I’ve received. Periodically I file these away and save most of them. There’s nothing better than reading a card from a friend 10 years later. As I perused the pile a few days ago, I found a thank you card from a former patient.

“Dear Bethany,

I still see your beautiful face with the tears and have seen it many times as I looked at my dear husband and best friend . . .  Keep your compassion. God will indeed bless you.”

These written words mean something more to me every time I read them. They seriously impacted me then, and they continue to impact me now. They remind me that God uses me even when I don’t know He’s using me. They are little inky impressions from God, reminders of how important words are, spoken and received. Whether I send a handwritten card or a thoughtful email, the words I speak and write matter. And the words you speak and write to me matter. I’m grateful for them.


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