With nothing more pressing to do on a cold, snowy day, I decided to work on my goal of sorting through clutter and down-sizing. Of course, this involves a trip to the past…something one must be in the mood for. What to keep…what to throw away. What to hang on to…what to leave behind.
Unfortunately, I’m a sentimental pack-rat. This means it takes me ten times as long as it should to look through a few boxes. I did manage to condense a few tubs, but little was tossed. And that’s okay. I have saved notes, concert stubs, letters, cards, poems, planners, calendars, tons of pictures and odds and ends. Nostalgia...
These things are tangible reminders of how much our world has changed. Today, most everything has become digital.
And so I asked myself, what value do these faded pieces of paper have? I decided quite a lot. There is an energetic difference between a hand-written note and a text or email. Feeling the texture of the paper beneath my hands as I read words intentionally chosen and written is an experience. Writing with a pen requires thought and deliberation. Sentences, not fragments, words that summon a picture in your mind, not an emoji, become art. Sometimes words are crossed out, or inserted. There’s a natural flow that is personal, not auto-corrected. Whether the author of the words is from the present or the past, is on this planet or somewhere beyond, they are with you as you read.
To write something that may be saved for the eternity of the paper it's written on, requires forethought. It asks for truth. And it begs for compassion.
We live in a world of quick responses, impulsive shares and shallow tweets that are two-dimensional, require little vulnerability and accountability, and have the delusion of safety. But most of these digital messages are throw-aways.
The things worth keeping go beyond the surface. They preserve the best of us and those we love and care for. They are the written thoughts that are found in a dusty old box that a sentimental pack-rat, like me, can’t part with.