By LAURA LEE LEATHERS
My hostess, Rosalie Hall Hunt, removed the over-100-year-old letters from her file box. I ran my fingers across the bundle of letters that originated in China and were sent to family members in the United States. Because they were carefully preserved, Rosalie could learn about her parents’ personal history. Those letters helped her to write the book “6 Yellow Balloons,” a story about her parents’ missions legacy.
At my home, tucked away in a file cabinet drawer, are letters from my parents. They were written mainly by my dad to his parents when he and Mom were expecting their first child. That’s me! The letters narrate their journey into parenthood: What a joy to discover their emotions, experiences and the adjustments of having a new baby.
And then I have my letters written to my parents from basic training, Women’s Army Corps, Ft. McClellan, Alabama. I also have a few of my grandfather’s letters to my grandmother. Not only was his penmanship beautiful, but he was quite the romantic.
How many of us take the time to write letters anymore? What have we lost in this fast-paced, technology-driven world? We have lost language skills, penmanship, history, geography, and the ability to express emotions. Maybe it is time to revisit why letter writing is essential.
Letters in the Bible
The apostle Paul’s letters are excellent examples to read and study, especially the letters to his mentee, Timothy. 1st and 2nd Timothy are full of encouragement, love, guidance, and the importance of knowing the truth of scripture.
There are plenty of letters written by people in the Bible. But the whole Bible itself is God’s letter to us — revealing who He is and why He sent His Son, Jesus.
As Christ followers, we are called to know and share the Word. When you write a letter, share a scripture, a prayer, a blessing, or tell how you have seen God at work in your life.
Ways to be a creative scribe
Scribes are mentioned throughout the Bible. Ezra was a godly “skilled scribe in the law of Moses” (Ezra 7:6,11) and an “expert in the words of the commandments of the LORD.” Have you ever considered yourself to be “a scribe for the Lord”? You can be!
What if you took 15 minutes out of your week to be a scribe for the Lord? Here are some ideas:
Create cards and stationery with hand lettering, watercolors and stamps, and use colorful pens and pencils. It’s something out of the ordinary and displays your artistic abilities. If you’re not creative or if you’re short on time, visiting a dollar store can give you a storehouse of stationery and cards.
If you’re a grandparent, consider writing your grandchildren at least monthly. I knew of one grandfather who wrote a short note to each grandchild weekly and placed a dollar bill in each envelope. Write out blessings, prayers, your God story, words of encouragement, or stories from your childhood or military experiences.
Linda J. Gilden wrote “Love Notes in Lunchboxes.” It is filled with creative ways to touch a child’s life with encouragement, affirmation and blessings. She suggests using pictures for younger children. Purchase sticky notes of various colors and write your message.
I have fond memories of being a pen pal as a child. My pen pals were32 friends from Yates City Bible Camp. Initially I did a superb job, but then the hand that held the pen stopped writing.
Parents, try to find a pen pal for your child(ren). It could be a missionary child, a nursing home resident, a veteran, a widow or a widower. It’s a way to teach thoughtfulness, kindness and creativity, and kids gain educationally. Visit ReadyToCare.com and check out their “3 Free Pen Pal Toolkits for Teachers and Group Leaders.”
A surprise in your mailbox
My mailbox, located at the end of a long driveway, contains the usual bills and junk mail. But occasionally there is a letter or card — a surprise. Bills are opened when I return to my office, but the letter is opened on the walk back. The scribe has encouraged my soul, put a smile on my face and gratitude in my heart.
The education found in writing and receiving letters is filled with possibilities! As a new academic year unfolds, schedule letter writing into your day or week. Be a scribe for the Lord!
With either a pen or a garden tool in her hand, Laura Lee focuses on her three passions: freelance writing, sharing and serving through hospitality, and cultivating Lady Laura’s Garden. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website, LauraLeeLeathers.com.