I am still thinking of the gift of words and what a treasure it is. As writers, we experience one kind of joy in the process of writing and probably don’t think much about the joy that others receive from our writing. During this season of holidays and gift-giving however, I am thinking of how much it has meant to me to receive original writings and the reactions of those who have received such gifts from me. I thought I’d share with my readers some personal examples of writing gifts.
My mother is the family historian, so several years we have received the products of her careful collections. One year she took her mother’s diaries and composed an autobiography which included several never-before-seen photos. Everyone in the family received a copy of the autobiography on a CD. Another year she had a family genealogy book professionally bound and surprised us each with our own copy. And yet another year, we got a collection of her poems. Each poem was about someone in the family. None of these could have been done quickly, of course. The writings were done over a long period of time, many years, in fact, and what we received was the compilation of her hard work. Those gifts are among my most treasured items.
When my father died, I wrote the eulogy and presented it at the funeral. Ten years after his death, I created a small booklet using the eulogy, one page for each paragraph, and gave it to my sisters as a gift.
Writings for Friends
One year at Christmas time I wrote a letter to everyone in my Sunday school class telling them how their presence in the class meant something to me. Writing to some of the people was very easy because I had a relationship with them and lots of things to write about. Some of the others were more difficult however because there were a couple of people who I didn’t know at all and had never even heard them speak! As I thought about their mere presence in the class however, I was able to think of what such dedicated commitment demonstrated for me and from that idea, I was able to compose a meaningful letter. While my friends in the class expressed appreciation for their letters, it was the silent smile of the man who had never showed any emotion that meant the most to me. In the following year, he contributed to the class and even volunteered to participate in some of the outside activities.
Writing is easy for those of us who love to do it. We often do it for selfish reasons – because we love it; because it keeps us sane; because we have to… But this holiday season, I want to encourage you to do it for others. Write something out about the people in your every day life. Whether you give it to them or not is not the first priority, just start pouring your gift out on the page and maybe, just maybe, it will reach the one who needs it the most.