July 4, 2010
The power of words
You know how there are some things you just hang on to forever? Some little trinket that reminds you of a special someone, or a photo that takes you back to a special time or place. I have my share of each but, in my case, it's words that have made a huge impact in my life. Words of encouragement, words of praise, words of love, words of comfort. And I've saved countless cards, letters and notes over the years. As I was sitting here at my desk this morning, I looked over to where I keep a few of these items and one stood out to me.
This letter was written to me by my dear Gran on July 4, 1976, when I was seven years old. Appropriate for today.
Dear Suzy (the name my grandparents' called me),
Today is the 200th birthday of our country, and we have so many blessings to count.
It is so wonderful to live in a free country where we can go do what we want and worship as we please.
I thank God for such a wonderful granddaughter.
I hope there will never be any wars to mar your growing up and, after you have finished your education, maybe the right man will come along and you will fall in love and be married. Then maybe your home will be blessed with children.
I hope you will always have a happy life and a rewarding life.
May God always bless you and keep you. Because I love you very much.
I can't tell you how much that letter has meant to me over the years. It speaks so strongly to my relationship with my Gran, and has always made me feel so loved. Even at times when I didn't feel very lovable. Most important, it taught me the strength of words, and how they can change your life.
It also led me to write the same kinds of letters for my own children - letters of thanks for them each Thanksgiving, memoirs of each year on their birthdays, notes of love and encouragement in their lunch boxes, diaries sharing daily happenings and funny little things they say, cards for special occasions or "just because," and a letter to each of them on our annual vacation to the Ozarks every summer.
They save these letters and notes, so I know they mean a great deal to them. And I hope that, 30-some years from now, they'll still mean as much as they do today. Try it with your kids, or someone else you love. You never know how powerful words can be in someone's life.