My mother loved to write. It’s a passion she passed on to me when she handed me my first notebook and explained what a diary was.
This past weekend, as I was sorting through the many boxes at my mom’s house and trying to decide what needed to go or stay, I came across a folder of writing that stopped me in my tracks. It contained typewritten and handwritten stories that I had first looked for in the first few months after her death and could not find. And now here it was amid the old grammar school workbooks from my childhood. I am always amazed at how “things” do or don’t show up until the right time.
She had taken a creative writing class many years ago when we still lived in New Jersey in the 60’s. As I read through some of them, I realized what a treasure these were. One story in particular caught my attention, about a young couple with a child who emigrated from post-war Germany. After a few paragraphs, I realized that even though the names were different, this was our story. She wrote what she knew . . .
I carefully placed all the typewritten pages into the folder and brought them into the house where they would be safe.
Technology is such a wonderful tool, toy, addiction . . . whatever you want to call it, and I certainly appreciate every bit of it. But I worry that we are losing something very substantial and critical not only for our evolution as a species but for our own personal and spiritual growth.
A photographer on one of the national news networks claimed that in 10 years, there would be no “photographs,” that for the first time in history, there would be a generation that would not have “visual proof” of their lives. Everything, images as well as writing, is trapped in a cell phone or some other kind of device. When people show you photos of their grandkids, it’s on a cell phone. My mom carried a little package of photos in her purse . . . that’s how she shared her photos.
There is something magical about holding an actual photo, or piece of paper with a handwritten message, so that you can run your fingers over the words or the images. It forces you into the moment, to slow down, to think about what matters.
One of the nicest compliments I received was from someone who followed my blogs: “I’ve even started writing myself.” We are all born to serve, and also to teach and learn from each other. That is how we stay connected.
So, write the stories of your life. . . the mishaps, the adventures, the little things that made you smile. laugh or cry. Write what’s in your heart. Humans have been documenting their existence since the days of the caveman. It was important then, and it’s important now.
Who will know you existed, if you don’t share your stories?