Just as we were getting used to the idea of possibly meeting together again, infection tates increase and tougher lockdown measures are coming back into place. Some among us may not feel comfortable with the idea of meeting together because of underlying health issues of our own or someone we live with. Maintaining connection is about to become harder again.
Many years ago I worked in a call centre. They are soulless places and leave most people who work in them with an intense dislike of phones. Phones, for many people, are a great way to stay in touch but, to be honest, I don’t like phones. My hearing isn’t the best and I struggle to hear people, I can’t see their faces so I’m missing so much of what is being said, conversation is stilted because there are no visual clues to pick up on. I struggle with phones.
With that in mind I was praying and reading the Bible looking for some insight, some word from God and I opened my Bible to this from Jeremiah 6:16
This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”
And I focussed and meditated on that scripture for a time.
Yesterday was my day off and, as often happens, I found myself in a bookshop where I came across a book called “Letters of Note” and I felt God nudge me. “Letters of Note” is a book of letters, written by scientists and artists and politicians and all sorts of people, often imparting some wisdom or insight into a specific area. I make it sound dry but it is a fabulous book. Flicking through it I was struck by what a wonderful form of communication the letter is. It is wonderfully personal. Handwriting has such personality and can tell you so much. It is a slow and thoughtful way of communicating, time is taken putting a letter together. Emails are fired off in an instance, a snap reply to a single instance. A letter travels by snail mail and holds so much more thought and intention that it seems to me to be far more personal. It can include sketches and diagrams and pressed flowers and glitter. It can feature prayers and song lyrics and lines from poems and recipes and book recommendations and shared photos and memories and all in a physical, tactile form that can be held in the hand and connect you with the sender.
So I’ve been thinking.
Maybe we need to get back to letter writing, particularly to connect with those for whom leaving the house is going to become even more of a problem. If you are or you know someone in the church who is housebound, write a letter to someone else, start up a pen pal relationship with someone, even if they live at the end of your road. If you would like to receive letters then let me know. I will write to you or connect with someone who will write letters. Let’s take this opportunity to connect with people in a way that is deeper and more meaningful. Let’s put or thoughts into words on paper. Maybe even go crazy and by a nice fountain pen and writing paper.
So I’m off now to write to a couple of people I have addresses for and know would appreciate a letter. If you want to write to me I will write back but let’s make this a meaningful way we stay in touch.