So, a while back, my friend Donna Hatch wrote a great blog post about the importance of using our writing talents to serve others. There’s happiness in serving others every day. I firmly believe that. Donna suggested that we writers can use our writing skills to serve others in some small way, such as a thank you note, or a note of encouragement. It’s a great idea. How many times in our lives have we received a sweet card or letter at just the right moment, something that we held in our hands and then held onto for a long time, stashing it away.
When I was 13, my Aunt Heather wrote me a letter I still have. It was insightful and sweet. Like most early teenagers, I was going through a rough patch, and the note let me know Heather understood and that things would, indeed, get better eventually. They did. She was right. The note was something I turned to from time to time when things got ugly on the school bus or whatever. It mattered. Thanks, Auntie Heath, in case you’re blog stalking me.
There are other ways to serve with our writing talents. We can collect family stories and make them available to the extended members of the family. Or we can be the record keeper for the family–writing down the details that make up the lives of the family. We keep a family journal. In it I take dictation from every family member pretty much every Sunday, whatever the kids want to say about that week. (No video game stuff, though. I draw the line there. Or it would be full of “how I saved the princess” and I just don’t want to document that. Seriously. Sorry, kids.)
Emails are nice, and they count, but isn’t it different to hold a handwritten letter in our hands, something on vellum or on cardstock, that we can smell or just feel. Something tangible. That won’t disappear if the computer crashes or the Internet up and disappears. Plus, there’s the added bonus of finding something in the mailbox that isn’t an advertisement or a bill. (Especially if you’re like we are and are just doing streaming on Netflix now and not ordering the DVDs anymore.)
Lately, I’ve been writing up the directory for our extended family–names and addresses and phone numbers for the whole lot of us. It’s been a gargantuan task, but it’s a way to serve.
My mom’s cousin just invited me to be the next one keeping in touch with the relatives in Norway, also. I’ll be the point of contact for all the extended family over there, writing up the Christmas cards, receiving them, keeping the address lists, making the friends. I’m thrilled to be asked! I’m hoping I do the job justice. It’s something I never thought I’d do, but I look forward to it. I love to write, and this is an unexpected and (I think) important way to use writing.
The parable of the talents in the New Testament teaches that those who use their talents will be entrusted with more. Can it be so with writing? Probably! I believe, anyway. I’m going to put it to the test.
So, I guess I’d like to issue a little challenge, if you’re interested. Attention, writers, consider trying to do something with writing each day this next week that makes someone else’s life happier or better. It doesn’t have to be big or take a long time. It’s something that we could even take a moment on our knees asking for inspiration as to who could use a little lift, how we could be instruments in the Lord’s hands that day.