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"We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love. But always meeting ourselves." 
James Joyce
Letter to a Friend

Letter to a Friend

Dear Laura Wade,

We talked again last night about this idea of writing letters to one another. My heart skipped a beat in anticipation of such a thing. We haven’t settled on a topic of letter writing: friendship, children, being a mom, or stories of our own life… But I know I like the idea… Very much. And I like you very, very much and want to get to know your heart even more...

From a very early age I’ve love writing letters. My world has not always been a safe place for my words to be spoken and caught with interest and kindness. There were always too many other moving pieces that needed containment: furniture, homes, fists, mockery. So, I was a quiet kid who wrote my words in the safe places of a letter to a friend or in my journal.  There were also no Internet or computers, so I had to figure out life with pen and paper.

Even more, I have loved getting handwritten letters in the mail. I had a friend, once who lived far from me and would randomly send me beautifully scripted letters of random stories from his life. I loved the look, the feel, and the smell of them and would sit with anticipation and rapt attention with the works of art and chew on them slowly and thoughtfully. They were a gift and an invitation to sit with him.

But times have changed, haven’t they? I have one friend who writes every once in a while b/c she knows how much a handwritten letter means, esp. one from the heart like she writes. I love her script, too…the way she slants her words, the cadence of them like hearing her voice…It’s like she’s a little closer than if she’d typed me an email. But with Internet, Instagram, Facebook, and email, gone are the days when time was taken to find paper and sit for ½ hour to ponder a life and write to a friend with intention and wistfulness.

And writing does something else, I have discovered. It slows the heart and the feeling train down, it bends brain circuitry toward relationship and self-soothing (Curt Thompson), it invites things to come out of the hidden places and surface. It can be a sorting process like painting is to my daughter who begins to understand her inner world as the paints go on the canvas, as she ponders why some object or scene has grabbed her soul.

Having said all that, I am typing this letter to you on my computer! I have to laugh at myself as well as enjoy the click of the keys on my fingertips. Writing this has made me slow down, sit with my cup of coffee on my front porch, and listen to the birds conduct their wake up call. Sitting here has made me ponder a little about what letter writing has meant for me.

But maybe we’ll discover even more if we do this brave thing… about each other, the world, our lives, our faith, husbands, kids… even through the world of computers.

With Much Love and Affection,

Cynthia

Our Meeting

Our Meeting