Yesterday I brought home a small, fat parcel from the post office. It had Mr B's name on it but upon opening it, he handed it across to me, saying, "This is for you."
He'd ordered for me a stack of late-Victorian postcards, all used and most of them still carrying their stamps. We spent the evening looking over the wonderful illustrations, reading through the spidery, handwritten messages, and marvelling at how far these postcards had travelled in distance and in time. The connections they represented.
"Your cat is OK," one of the writers said, "sleeping every day in the sun." Others spoke of holidays, of family, of the weather ("How do you like this snow and weather we are having? I haven't had a sleigh ride since Christmas...").
But what really struck us was how little was said on several of the postcards.
Sometimes, people simply wanted to say "I'm thinking of you," and a postcard was the best way to say it. Postcards were the late-19th and early-20th Century versions of SMS: simple words that reinforced "You are loved," or maybe, simply, "You are not forgotten."
In the backlash against the cold, digital, instantaneous messaging of today, there is often a whole lot more weight given to those who write a lengthy letter. And I love a good epistolary chat as much as the next person. But sometimes I don't have time to write a long, newsy letter. Sometimes I just want someone I care about to know that they are on my mind and in my heart. Likewise, when the people who love me are busy it is still nice to know they are thinking of me, even if they don't have time to sit down and write five pages about their lives.
I think the fact that I hold these tangible texts in my hands today is a testament to the reality that our words have power. Because a simple "Thinking of you" can mean so much to someone that they hold onto it until they day they die.
∇∇ "From a friend guess who"
∇∇ "All is O.K."
∇∇ "Wish you many Happy Birthdays"
∇∇ "From your sincere friend"