Stories don't just allow us to feel: They invite us to think, are at the core of what it means to be human and push us to grow. – Sarah Jane Murray
I'm always looking for reasons to continue writing… or maybe reasons to quit. I have all the excuses: It's hard to do. It's hard to carve out time. It's hard to sit at a desk when yes- I'd rather be having fun with friends and family. It's hard to resist opportunities to travel to wonderful and unique places. And yet, writing is the most satisfying – and frustrating – thing I've ever done. And then there's the marketing – arghhht!
But I can't underestimate the value of words, of messages, of communicating, of self-expression, of reaching out and touching each other with stories. Here's an example from real life.
Our friend Sally caught us by surprise. She died of a sudden, first heart attack. It took her friends a long time to get over the shock, the guilt, the 'why didn't I…' But the 'missing her' remains, nearly five years later. We were three couples who traveled together over many years – Spain, France, Ireland, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, San Diego, Mexico – and more. We had a blast, especially we three gals.
Recently we got a call. Sally's husband was ready to move on. "Please come over and choose some of Sally's jewelry. She would want you to have it." (Sally had no children, very few heirs.) Reluctant for many reasons, we went anyway.
Her husband greeted us with, "Looks like Sally isn't coming back for her bling, so it's time for you to enjoy it." That broke the ice. We all laughed at the thought of Sally coming back to claim her jewelry and slowly, emotionally, began to make some choices. And a strange kind of blessing emerged.
Through her jewelry, we re-visited some of the things she loved – turquoise, tourmaline, amber, crosses, cats, and more. We remembered the times when some of the items were bought in Santa Fe or in Spain. In the end, it was okay, like she was saying, "It's just a few things to remind you of me and our good times."
Before we left, I shared a birthday card from Sally many years ago. (Yes, I sometimes keep those things.) It was an art card, purchased in a museum in Spain, reminding us that Sally loved art and was an excellent artist. But it was her voice and simple message about being friends forever and having fun together that drew our tears. Through the process of choosing her lovely jewelry, there were no tears. But her words touched us because that's where emotion lives.
So, if you're listening Sally, thanks for the memories, the fun, the friendship, and yes, even the bling. If you come back, I'll happily hand it over. And won't we have fun again!
Touchstone. I'll probably keep on writing. That's where the emotion lies. What about you? Even something as small as a note on a card can touch someone. And isn't that what we want?