Sunday Letters- Things That Make Me Brave

Generally our Sunday letters will be to one another, but today I’m rather inspired by some others. My family came to town last night which is almost as rare as my husband eating sushi. That is to say, it doesn’t happen very often. Neither activity is disliked by the participator, but unfortunately for me, they only come along every so often. We took the opportunity to visit the Dallas Gift Market (thanks, Mom!), eat dinner, and see True Grit. I must admit that this was mostly decided based on my dad’s pleas, but knowing that the only movie we’d ever seen as a family in theaters was Seabiscuit, I knew we needed to go.

The movie itself is pretty inspiring- I love the idea of being out on the open range, outlaws abounding, gun in tow. Maybe it’s because I’m from Oklahoma. But watching a 14 year old girl avenge her father’s death with a fierce heart and a sharp tongue? All the better.

As she sets out to find her father’s killer- against the will of the marshall and behind her mother’s back- she writes this letter to her mother:

Dearest Mother- I am about to embark on a great adventure. Or dare I call it a mission, lest any of us rest easy ere Papa’s death is avenged? My investigations in Fort Smith lead me to believe that Tom Chaney can be found and brought to justice, and I have made arrangements to that end. I will return to you once I have seen them properly carried through. But do not worry on my account. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil. The author of all things watches over me. And I have a fine horse. Kiss little Frankie for me and pinch Violet’s cheek. I am off for the Choctaw Nation.

From here, greatness ensues and she is more brave than I would ever be unless I were fighting in hand-to-hand combat for my family or my God. Those things would make me instantly brave.

And a copy of a letter that has long been posted on my inspiration board at home:

Dear Pastor,
You should only be opening this letter in the event of my death. When God calls there are no regrets. I tried to share my heart with you as much as possible, my heart for the nations. I wasn’t called to a place; I was called to Him. To obey was my objective, to suffer was expected, His glory my reward, His glory my reward. The missionary heart cares more than some think is wise, risks more than some think is safe, dreams more than some think is practical, expects more than some think is possible. I was called not to comfort or to success but to obedience. There is no joy outside of knowing Jesus and serving him. I love you and my church family.

In His care,
Salaam,
Karen

-Karen Watson, 1973-2004, Mission worker killed by terrorists in Iraq

Yes, these things make me brave.

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Letters in the Mail

My wife got a letter in the mail today. Like, a hand-written, pen and paper, genuine letter. I sat back in my chair as she cheerily tore into it and devoured its contents. Then she said something curious, “letters in the mail are so much better because you only have so much space so you have to convey your words with precision and meaning.” Ok, she didn’t say it exactly like that, but that’s what she meant.

If you’re reading this post and you’ve met me there’s roughly a 50% chance you’ve received a note or letter from me in the mail. It would have been in all capital letters (somebody forgot to turn my internal caps lock off as a kid) and I likely would have jammed my name in the bottom right corner because I hate being confined by finite white space.

Jen’s probably right though, brief is always better than rambling (kind of makes this post ironic, huh?).

Anyway, my parents always bribed us with Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books forced us as kids to write thank you notes and letters. It made me annoyed at them (maybe it still does?) but I thank them for it now because I think it’s one of the places I developed my love for writing.

This isn’t about me though (actually, technically it is since my mug is plastered all over the pages of the URL you just typed in…but whatever). It’s about the fact that letter writing is a dying art and I want to know why.

There’s something innately mysterious about seeing your name in dried ink on the front of an envelope. It’s hard to explain. It’s kind of like the first time you go on a date with a girl or the feeling you get when you buy a book you’ve been dying for. You don’t know what the future holds but in that moment it can be anything you can imagine.

The future of letter writing though, who knows? Where’s it going? Where’s it gone? Do we not have enough time? Do we think writing on the web is better because it is, theoretically, endless? Is it too expensive?

I want your thoughts. Best theory gets a letter from me. It’ll be short. Unlike this post.

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