The word became flesh and stayed in our neighborhood. John 1:14
This notion is foundational in the meaning of Christmas. The birth of Jesus. The mystery of the incarnation. God becoming like us so that we might become like God. It’s tied into a word. Throughout the week we’ve reflected on the word HOPE as well as the Word. Sherry Turkle points out the possible way in which device use (especially social media) are impacting the way we are and communicate with each other. Motlmann tries to articulate the theologically full nation of HOPE we have in faith. Serving others seems to have become a foreign word in our vocabulary. Teresa of Ávila spent her life moving deeper into the written word, inviting others on that mystical journey with her.
How are you impacted by words? I find myself at times inundated with them: written, spoken, texted, emailed, faxed, voice mailed. They come wrapped in emotions of joy, frustration, consternation and condemnation. A few words can rip me down to dark thoughts, or reactive indignation, or lift me to great joy or even move me to abundant generosity. Some words are cheap and easy. Some words are obviously more costly to share and utter.
In our technological increasingly paper-less world I find that a hand-written word carries more meaning than every. Something about the handwriting, the ink, the smudges, serves as a vehicle for connection, intimacy and time. Wether a long letter or a post-it note, it conveys a deeper desire for connection and conversation. It could be purely subjective. It probably is. But there are things that can be said (or heard) only in handwritten words, not typed, texted or hyperlinked. Hand writing taking more time. It draws me into more of a meditative space, in which I’m thinking about the other person in ways that are more than just transaction or reactive. Obviously we’re moving away from paper notes – look at the collapse of the mailing system and impending bankruptcy of the UPS. Nevertheless I doubt that I’m alone in having felt my heart speed up, or my body relax a bit more, or a smile spread across my face when I find a hand written letter or note awaiting me in the potential of the mail box. A handwritten words for me just is more like a word that comes in to my abode, sits with me, and sets up to stay for a while.
Take a few minutes today or this weekend to write a note to someone. Maybe a loved one you live with. Maybe one you have to mail. Write to someone who is celebrating a recent achievement, healing, or hope. Write to someone who is struggling with disease, mourning death, depression or doubt. Pick out a beautiful card or use a post-it. Hand deliver it or mail it. As you compose it, think of that person, meditatively aware of how much they mean to you, your desires and wishes for them, your history together….. Isn’t it remarkable how relationship can be such a beacon of hope for us?