“I believe it is through small acts such as this letter-writing group that we are able to help build some sense of community among strangers that we may better feed our souls that we many not starve — for food, for attention or for perceived need of power.” That is what I am putting in the letters henceforth on our list of 100 recipients that I’d yet to write to, after the Boston event.
April being National Letter Writing Month, my old school chum once again conjured up a list of folks across the country, three in Canada, one in Australia and one in the Arab Emirates. 100 this year, up from the original 30 four years ago. I am so happy to say there are those who like to make cards and write them, even if just a short note. I am always thankful for the heartfelt, human touch arriving daily in my mailbox.
Obviously I email. I have people under 30 in my life. However, I’ve always tried to make the point with them that something more tangible like a love letter written on paper or such says so much more. But, I could be not completely right…
I mentioned recently the death of my brother-in-law. My sister and he were not much for socializing per se but spent many hours in contact with groups on the Internet, usually cat-loving people, creative writers and the like. I worried. Then, when Steve was in the hospital, two of their online “friends,” one an hour and a half away, the other 45 minutes away, came not once but three times to visit in the hospital. I was shocked.
I suppose shocked is not the right word, more like incredibly pleasantly surprised. I was grateful on behalf of my sister and her husband for that human contact that took some effort to make. But, there it is — human contact. What is it if it is not in the form of looking into someone’s eyes or holding their hand? Is it merely the effort?
Perhaps so. When looking for resources for clients, family or myself, there very often comes up online support groups. There is a forum for just about every topic you can imagine. And while there really is no substitution for physical presence (like the cat website folks, including the managers of the site who sent a package of gifts in the mail to cheer her up!), one may at least get some inkling that they are not alone.
When children, or co-workers or spouses or whomever, act in a hurtful way, or demand attention or insist they are right or on and on, they are expressing a need. In this time of increasing surveillance, invasion of privacy, loss of the most basic freedoms, I hope that we do not lose sight of what we all really need — to be heard, to be understood and in some cases, to be helped.
Most people don’t go letting loose thousands of rounds of ammunition in a school or blowing up buildings (by this last one, I don’t mean only two individuals but government wranglings as well), but some make their presence really uncomfortable to others. There is a need that is not being met.
How many times have I said this? Let me count the ways … the bottom line is, folks, listen — hear what people are saying whether through words or actions. You don’t have to agree but let them know you hear. Are you “serving” or are you controlling under the guise of “fixing?” Be honest. Write letters. Pay it forward. Spread peace.
Dianne Brookes column is special to The Cambrian. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit her web site at www.ladytiedi.com.