I met someone a few weeks ago that I can’t get out of my mind. He walked into the marketing office because of the sign outside that said we had free tickets. “What tickets do you have?” That one question sparked a conversation that lasted at least 10 minutes. When he heard my accent, he told me about his pen pal—a lady in England with whom he started corresponding in 1944. That was over 65 years ago and they still write to one another, but they have never met. Both of them have grown up, had families, traveled and lived full lives, always keeping in touch and sharing their news. They must be in their 80s now.
To me, this was simply incredible and terribly touching. In this age of online “friends”, video conference calls and jetting across the world to far-away destinations, communication is usually instant and requires less effort than handwriting a letter, ensuring correct postage and addressing envelopes. I know my mailbox is more frequently filled with stuff I throw away than anything meaningful. His was a beautiful story and I hope he visits again for another chat.
Long-time correspondence also requires dedication, patience and the ability to keep another person in mind. It also reveals a great deal about character. You must be motivated to keep that kind of friendship going, to show the other person that you care and you are thinking of them. We all need each other in this way—it creates meaning in our lives—and all too often we allow other things to get in the way.
Not all of us are as lucky as my visitor. We lose touch with people we care about because we don’t set aside the time to nurture those relationships. As we know all too well from the horrific September 11 attacks of 2001, you never really know what’s in store or whether you will see your loved one again. It is only ever a good thing to remind others of how much they mean to you and what they add to your life – there is no shame in telling a good friend they light up your life!
In this issue, we focus on how to celebrate life— how to take care of ourselves and how to take care of each other. No matter where you are, or what you have been through, someone has your back and cares for you. Even if you have never met them face-to-face.
Molly Swift, Editor