Sunday, December 09, 2007
It is the time of Christmas. The time of family and friends and gifts and lavish meals and church services and colored lights everywhere! It is a time of peace and reflection and kindness to strangers. And it is the time of Christmas cards.
Throughout the year, you will hear me moaning, “I hate email!” And I do! Although I have become dependent upon it and use it to plan and make commitments and pass on tidbits of knowledge or humor, I find it leaves much wanting, at least to me.
A single email message may be taken as humorous by one reader and as an insult to another. Ask me how I know this! An email message is flat – there is no voice or tone or excitement or pacing or whisper or loudness! Flat. Just flat words on a flat screen. Somewhat effective for business, but oh, so inadequate for personal relationships or for extensions of kindness. No touching by email. Just my eyes reading something that I can all too easily delete.
Now, don’t get me wrong! I am currently without my email system after doing an innocent disk defrag and cleanup and I feel isolated and unable to be heard! I can see my emails coming in and I am able to read them but I cannot reply to a one! Nor can I generate and mail a new message! And I feel helpless! Cutoff and at a total loss! How can I ask questions? Send notes of reminders? And notes of thanks?
Bullseye. Notes of thanks. By email. What’s happened to us?
I have received invitations by email. I didn’t attend the event.
I have received thank you messages by email. I didn’t feel appreciated.
I have been scolded by email. I felt offended that “it” didn’t matter enough for a telephone call.
I have been labeled by email. Again, I felt “it” wasn’t obviously worth a personal conversation, so I pressed that delete key again.
I have been told of cancer by email. I picked up the phone.
I have been told of a passing by email. I drove to them.
Why do we insist on using email to discuss and inform and question life? What happened to the telephone? The visit? The handwritten note?
It is at this Christmastime of year that I treasure my daily walk to the mailbox. I open our new mailbox with the anticipation of a child opening a box of presents! Who has written? Who has sent a picture? Who has thought enough of me to take the time to write???
Each card is treasured and taped to the glass of the big clock in the dining room. They stay taped there until well in to January. I look at them and see Kathy’s three sons as they grow a bit more in to young, handsome men. I watch Karen’s twin daughters as they become young ladies. I watch my dear Cora grow in her pursuit of her spirituality. And I carefully search to see how well Ilene and Whitey are moving to the close of their lives - gently leaving the wilderness and moving in to the city upon realizing their fragility. I look for Julie’s little girls as they become young sweeties. And I read of the move for others and how they miss their families and friends back home.
And then when I’ve had my fill, I reattach the cards to the envelopes. Taking them down, I reread each card and photo and letter just once more. Letters of family updates – relocations, colleges, marriages, births, passings, new jobs. Oh! The fun of catching up!
Stored until next year, I have these Christmas cards in a drawer and all too often, throughout the year, I find myself pulling out a specific card to touch the paper and feel the ink. Look at the picture and reread the note just between us. Someone has passed. Someone is fighting for their life against a very smart disease. Someone has been on the receiving end of a tragic accident. Someone has a promotion. Is getting a divorce. Is having a baby! Yes, I call or drive to them. But not until I retouch their Christmas card. I feel them through their Christmas card and I am immediately back to when we were close.
This Christmas, I challenge each of you to find the time to write Christmas cards. Yes, time is at a premium during this season of the year. I know! But find the time! Don’t go shopping just once more. Lose a bit of sleep. Forget seeing the new movie. Setup the table and drag out that old mailing address book and cards and stamps and write Christmas cards. Touch your friends and family with a bit of paper, some ink, and words that can only come from you.
As I drop my Christmas cards in to the mailbox, I envision the hugs I am sending through the mail. Hoping that these cards will be opened with the same pleasure that I open mine. Hoping that the card will be taped somewhere in their house, too. And hoping someone can feel my hug through this simple gesture of a Christmas card.
Those of us working hard to support The Herd and Missions of Refuge Farms do so because we believe in the Magic of these horses. The ability of these horses to teach us. And they teach us empathy, understanding, compassion, respect, to be caring, to be healthy, to be active, to be safe, to look after each other, and to look out for each other. They teach us about life, death, illness, and recovery. They teach us to be natural. They teach us who we really are.
Now, I ask you, have you heard their lessons? Have you truly felt their Magic? Look after one another. Show compassion and understanding. Isn’t it time to handwrite your Christmas cards?
Enjoy the journey of each and every Christmas card,
Sandy and The Herd