Apr. 28, 2021 - Emojis

"Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on your hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts." (2 Corinthians 3:1-2)

I used to write hand written letters. Now I send short texts. I used to receive hand written letters. Now I receive short texts. Sometimes they include 💜, 😀😁😂😇😋, 👍, 🙏, and other tagged emojis'. Sometimes they are highly romantic like the one I often send to my wife: "home." Sometimes its "home, 10 min." You can imagine how she greets me at the door after a long day's absence with such spicy rhetoric.

I can remember when I was in college I couldn't wait to get a card and letter from my neighbor, Mrs. Louise Rinker. She was a lady of Swedish descent who was one of the hardest working farm wives I ever had the privilege of knowing. She would put up this massive garden - half to put up in her three chest freezers, the other half to give away. She would make the best fruit preserves and call me over when she would open a fresh jar so that I could chew on the wax that had tightly sealed in all those wonderful fruit flavors. She would call me over to sit on the porch swing to eat a "left-over" piece of pie that she just couldn't throw away. 😁

I knew when Louise would send me a card. It was like a flat package. I knew what was inside. To my delight, Louise would tape as many quarters and sticks of gum physically possible on all sides of that card. (I was able to do my laundry that week.)You couldn't even read the words that were on the inside, hence the inserted letter. A letter from home. A letter telling me about what happened to Linda's horse, or Pa's tractor, or Little Ray's eye problems. A letter about the bountiful green beans this year or how bad the carrots did - those darn rabbits - or how beautiful the wild flowers blossomed this year. Nothing really important. Everything that was important.

She died of pneumonia. I miss her.

She wrote me a letter but in reality she was the letter. Or...maybe I was the letter. I was a letter that reflected her kindness, her compassion, her love. In receiving her gift, her ministry to me, I became her life's words, a living memoir to a part of her life.

Perhaps that is why I keep certain things, like my dad's old hand written sheet music for his trumpet or an old yellowed polaroid picture of some distant relative that has my mom's writing on the back of who they were and the date. Maybe its why I cherish anniversary cards from Deb or homemade things from my girls and grandkids. Maybe I'm not a hoarder or a nostalgic. Perhaps I just want to be a selfish living memoir of the past and present, a fleshly mirror of someone who cared about me, loved me, ministered to me, or simply took the time to think about me. I am a living letter.

No postage necessary. Quarters and gum included. 😉