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Letters of Love

Updated: Jul 27, 2021

Sometimes, you'll be looking for something else, and an old letter will appear. It can remind you of things long-past, or give you renewed passion.


At other times, your world is rocked by sorrow, or you don't know what step to take next. Letters of love, from someone kind, can provide a balm to an injured heart - like no other. They can show you which way to turn, and even to whom you should turn.



I'm glad and grateful that I have a treasure trove of letters and birthday cards from my parents. They bring back memories, as do the many photos, but they bring me so much more.


I'm able to connect, through my Mum's handwriting or my Dad's doodling, directly to their hands. Their hands rested on this paper. Their hands held the pen or pencil that left me this note.


I'm blessed with something more. You see, I moved to Sydney for some time and was without a phone. That meant that I received letters instead of phone calls (no emails or texts back then!). Some were about the goings-on of my siblings and community, and some of a more profound nature.


Mum and I used to talk, often, about divinity and spirituality. We'd talk about vocation and our callings.


In December 1985, Mum was elected to the office of Diocesan International Secretary of the Catholic Women's League, and she told me that she inherited the responsibility for questionnaires from WUCWO for the United Nations. In going through the papers for her new role, she discovered that I had been quoted in a report to the WUCWO International Secretary! As she said, "One should never miss an opportunity to have one's say. Respectfully, if course!"


Like Mum, I sometimes went on retreat, and found the experience life-transforming. Once, we attended the same retreat; it was silent, except when we came together for group discussions. Often, when you're the youngest of the family, you're discounted as "just a kid". But on this retreat, my mother saw something in me that was not only mature, but divinely gifted. She wrote to tell me so.


Mum sent me a couple of letters which spoke to my vocation. It's when I get down about my calling (because I am human after all), that reading these letters will renew my focus. They centre my soul, so I can find my "true north" again.


Letters, written by hand and penned from the heart, soothe my spirit when I miss my parents. Mum passed in 2011, and Dad in 2012. I pray every evening for them, with gratefulness that they were mine and I was theirs.

Visits and phone calls are great, but I'd really like to encourage anyone and everyone to start writing letters to the people you care about. One day, you will be gone, but your letters will be something tangible that your loved ones can hold.


Your words of encouragement and validation will counter the self-sabotaging thoughts and feelings of invisibility that they might feel.


Tell your loved ones what you are proud of - both in your own life, and about them. What makes them shine? What is it about them that makes you think that the world is a better place because they're in it?

Don't forget to say that you look forward to hearing from them, too!

I want to suggest that you post your letter. There is something so very happy about going to the letter box and finding a letter! It's not a bill! It's not an eviction notice! It's not, thankfully, more advertising! No, it's personal and connects you to them.


One thing I'm really excited about just now, is that Australia Post is accepting traditional names for places! Even if the person to whom you are writing is not Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, the person who handles it as a sorter or postie might be. So, check out the map and put the right name - the traditional name - in the second line under your addressee's name. Me? I proudly and humbly acknowledge that I live and work on the country of the Awabakal nation.


I acknowledge the traditional custodians of Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. I respect the elders past and present and emerging, and express my heartfelt apology for the injustices endured by Aboriginal people of our nation. I will continue to strive, day by day, for my thoughts and actions to reflect these truths and sentiments.


I might not get it right all the time, but in listening to my Elders, I'll keep on learning. I am so thankful that I still have Elders to guide me.


 

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