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Friday, January 1, 2016

Year of the Love Letter

Photo by Jlhopgood
I never make new year’s resolutions. I figure if there’s an item of life-stuff that needs improving, why wait till January 1 to start working on it? As soon as I realize something’s off about me, I really ought to kick it into gear and make the necessary changes immediately if not sooner.
But I do like to undertake a new project or commitment with the changing of the calendar. Last January I challenged myself to write one blog post a week for 52 weeks. Through thick and thin, with subjects from the erudite to the inane, I hammered out words and attained my goal. I may have entertained no one but myself, but if little else was achieved I have at least proven that I can talk a lot about nothing for a very long time.
This year, however, I have decided that I will direct my prolific production of prose toward others. Because it recently occurred to me that we rarely, if ever, get to see ourselves through someone else’s eyes. Life and the world and work and other people can tear us down so much more than anyone or anything intentionally builds us up.
Mark Twain said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” But I think we can do more than just give an occasional compliment to the people around us. We can speak life and encouragement and love and hope to others. In fact, I think that’s exactly what we’re supposed to be doing.
So, during the coming year I will write one letter every week to someone I know, with the purpose of telling each person what they mean to me and how I see them. I will include four things in each letter:
    • a short characterization of our relationship
    • a memory of something we did together that had meaning for me
    • a description of how I see that person
    • and a message about what I hope for that person in the future.
Most of these I will mail or deliver by hand, but for this first one I’m going to kick off with an open letter to my husband.
Dear Aaron,
You have been my friend for 17-1/2 years, and my husband for 16. You are the person who I get to kiss good-bye every morning when you walk out my door and who I get to hug when you walk back in every evening. You take care of me when I’m sick, you feed me when I’m hangry but I don’t realize it, and you encourage me when I feel like a monumental failure at everything. Whenever I hear Toby Mac’s Move (Keep Walkin’) I will always picture you singing it to me in the kitchen.
One of my favorite memories is of the day we met. I was on vacation in Guam with a girlfriend and you were in port there with the Navy, on leave from your submarine for the day. Though we didn’t have any instant-infatuation feelings about each other (I didn’t take any makeup or hair products, or even a curling iron with me on that trip, so I was looking pretty… um… all-natural) I remember walking along the beach with you during a sightseeing trip, talking about whatever. At that moment I thought, “I’d like to walk and talk with this person for a really long time.”
And now I get to!
You are one of the most integrity-filled people I have ever known. I trust your word completely. I love that you love Christ, and that when we disagree we can always come back to the Word and find our correction and center there. I love that the truth is important to you, and that you will move heaven and earth to uncover it. You are organized and detail-oriented, and though sometimes you make me a little crazy when you spend days (or weeks) researching a purchase or planning out the minutiae of a trip, the results are always spectacular. You are reflective and wise and intentional in everything you do. You have challenged me to think more deeply, practice more patience, and offer others more grace.
I hope for ever more joy for you in the coming years. As our children grow up and start to grow away from us, I pray that you will find satisfaction in a parenting job well done. As I watch you growing closer to God I pray that His peace and love and wisdom will continue to flow in and through you. And I hope that someday your wife will mature enough to become the one you deserve.
Thank you for being my husband and friend.
One down, 51 to go.
And that wasn’t even very hard. In fact, it felt pretty good to write that letter. I’m kind of looking forward to starting the next one. Who’d have thought blessing someone else could make me so happy?
I think this is going to be a good year.
A really good year.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. I removed a comment here because of the questionable link it contained. Thought it was a genuine encouragement from someone who liked my blog, but then realized it was just another anonymous blogger fishing for clicks. Sigh.

  2. Maria: Congratulations on accomplishing your blogging goal last year! Please know that Jeff and I were both inspired, informed, and entertained by your writing (and hope you're able to keep blogging in addition to your letter writing). Truly, we appreciate your thinking on a vast array of topics (who knew dog p**p could be interesting?), and look forward to future posts! xo

    1. Thanks, Laurie! (But I think that p**p post was scraping the bottom of the barrel.)