Writing as thoughtful communication is another one of the hidden arts of homemaking. Not many of us are published authors, but any of us can express ideas or emotion or creativity through the written word.
I have thought many times that it is easier to communicate through the written word than through the spoken word.
I say this as someone who panics when the situation calls for speaking "off the cuff." For years I'd hang up on answering machines. There was entirely too much pressure to say something coherent to an inanimate object with no time to prepare my words. Ron, who speaks on the phone a good part of every work day and thus could not understand my stage fright, convinced me that I could leave a simple message and the world would go on. I do leave messages now, but I still panic and stumble and stammer and leave the impression that I am brainless.
Should I tell you about the time I was making a series of phone calls about a club meeting? I got to Betty Smith's name on my list, but when I dialed Betty's number, the voice that answered didn't sound like Betty's.
"Hello, is Betty there?" I asked.
"This is Betty," the voice answered.
"Betty Smith?" I ask, still not convinced.
"Yes, it is," replied the voice.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I have the wrong number."
What?! Did I really do that?
I'm afraid I did. And then I had to call Betty back and confess my "error" because I knew that I would be seeing her again and wouldn't be able to look her in the eye.
I am not the only one who freaks out under such pressure. My brother-in-law has a similar problem at drive-through windows. He once ordered "two spicy chicks" while his family laughed so hard they were wheezing.
All that to say, I am most able to articulate what I want to say if I can write it.
When writing, I can ponder. I can carefully choose my words. I can ruminate a while and then write it down and then consider. I can change it up if it doesn't say what I want to say.
I can express my feelings without embarrassment or hesitation. I can have my say without something or someone interrupting the flow. I can say what is in my heart.
Writing is also a more enduring method of communication.
I like this old Chinese proverb...
The faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory.
I don't get "stage fright" when I talk to my family or to close friends, but even then there is value in the written word.
I enjoy reading papers that I wrote for high school and college, revealing who I was then and what I was thinking.
As a young mom, I once sat down in the midst of a very messy house and wrote an essay based on Proverbs 14:4..."where no oxen are, the crib is clean." I have searched high and low and cannot find it, but I'd love to see it again and remember those days.
I value the handwritten notes on birthday cards, some of them from those who have gone on. I enjoy reading old letters and thank you notes from family and friends.
I love reading old love letters from my husband.
I loved hearing the love letter that Ron's father had written to his mother.
I treasure the sweet notes and cards written in a child's handwriting, complete with misspelled words.
And so I have marked several occasions with letters of my own. A letter to Ron one Valentine's Day. A letter to my mother one Mother's Day, and to my father one Father's Day. A letter to my faraway granddaughter Eve on her second birthday.
There is more that I should write...
Continuing the book club discussion of The Hidden Art of Homemaking at Ordo Amoris...
Click ~here~ for all the posts in the discussion.