An open letter.

I’m way behind on my letter writing, so I hope you don’t mind that I catch up here.

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for leaving a message so I could show up.
  2. You left before I could see you again. I hope your loved one is doing better, but I know that she won’t really understand.
  3. I think about you more often than you realize. The consistency of the message that you send is a regular reminder to me about the importance of that perspective.
  4. and that one.
  5. and that one.
  6. I’m sorry that I missed your birthday. I don’t like to just use Facebook, but that means I forget.
  7. I’m sorry I didn’t respond to your birthday greeting.
  8. I know. I’m completely behind. And I’m trying to figure out how to get caught up. I’ll be working on it tomorrow.

hope callsMany of you will recognize these comments. They are common statements from me, more common that I wish. And it’s possible that you are reading between the lines and taking them as if they were addressed to you.

But without specifics, without context, without eye contact and vocal inflection, they lack direction and intention and affection. On the other hand, Glenda and Becky and Dave and Gayle and Deb and Lowell, with just that much detail, are able to smile and hear my voice.

I think that this means something about prayer or about reading the letters of Paul and Peter. I think that it means that working a little bit on context is helpful. So is asking whether I’m actually talking about you, Joe. Because I am, David. I am, Cheryl. And Mike, I particularly am talking about you.

But I think it also means something about the shortcomings of open letters. Sometimes a closed letter is best.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.