I place another email in the basket…and think of all the letters and emails I have saved through the years. Birthday cards, Mother’s Day Cards, letters from Mom and a rare letter from Dad are all tucked away in boxes of memories. Sometimes I re-read these letters and emails and consider the emotions and thoughts this pile of words has created in the person writing and in the reader.

Deaths, births, weddings, requests for prayer, moving, new jobs or loss of jobs, everyday descriptions of lives.

Celebration comes when we have heard from our four children in one day. Most of the time the communiques are spread out from family – depending on work schedules and family commitments. We have decided that “Once a parent, always a parent!”

As children, young and younger all the time, learn to write messages on chatting devices. After teaching and deciphering second graders’ writing, the texting of today is easy to read. Most of the time. Grandchildren are so helpful in patiently explaining brb, lol, rofl, and other short cuts familiar to the youth of today. Now Facebook provides family connections. Through Facebook I keep up with four children, twelve grandchildren and six great – grandchildren. As well as cousins and second cousins. Chatting is an easy way to keep up – it crosses the boundaries of miles and countries and provides that personal touch of communication that we all need!

While teaching the 6th grade, we began a ‘Dear Mrs. Combs’ journals….every Friday my sixth graders wrote messages to me, and I answered. The entries contained a variety of topics and were written with a sense of humor to the deepest pathos from their hearts. I answered each one. The journals contained a window into their hearts and reached deep into mine.

On a national holiday, Labor Day, my Dad decided to combat the possible infestation of termites under our house with a liberal coat of creosote. This was before the advent of Terminix and other companies. My brothers helped Dad, and that left me wondering….wondering what the boxes under the house contained. Imagine my surprise when I found letters. Many letters, some wrapped in blue ribbon. Being only eleven years old, I read some of these letters in wonderment. Dad wrote Mom poetry? Each letter held the endearment, “Sweetheart”. What a shock to learn that my mother was a “Sweetheart”. These letters opened a new understanding of the love my Mom and Dad had for each other. The letters were a record of that love.

Letters, personal letters contain so much wisdom, memories, love, a historical record of life. Perhaps that is why we save our personal correspondence. The notebooks of journals of Mom are in my possession. I sometimes read them. She began with her ‘Dear Poppa Journal’ after the death of my Dad. It contained the journey from 50 years of happy marriage to living as a widow who trusted God for sustenance. She expressed heartache after heartache of loneliness. I have a copy of a portion of Grandma Suderman’s journal. Is it any wonder that I write? I just read Mom’s descent into her final illness that she wrote. Why do I keep these writings? I treasure the slips of paper that hold our children’s writing – “I love you, Mommy!”

I treasure another book. More and more I find inspiration, food for thought and guidance along the way in the books written by the inspiration of God – the Bible. Most of the books in the New Testament are letters, epistles, written to churches who struggled in their world and in their faith. The letters are filled with admonishment, hope, wisdom, love and direction. I can imagine these writers, with the technology of paper and a pen and ink, laboriously writing what God has decreed. These letters have withstood a turning away of the people, war, flood, fire, famine, disease and all manner of events that should have destroyed the Word. Yet, God’s Word remains steadfast, a beacon of light to those who love Him, God-breathed words. It cannot be destroyed. It is the Journal of Life.

Colossians 3:15-17 – Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Comments? eacombs@eacombs@cox.net