“The word that is heard perishes, but the letter that is written remains.” Traditional Proverbs
A gentleman is walking down the rustic, creaky-sounding pier as I finish the cleanup task on my boat, now in its lift in the designated boat slip for our condo. As he approaches me, he introduces himself as Ross Brown, who is renting a condo in Building F, located on the eastern edge of our community, across the marina water channel from where we now stand.
Ross is looking for help in towing his broken-down boat, now secured at a pier in a neighboring condo property in Terry Cove. Having had a similar experience in needing assistance from a stranger, I gladly respond and volunteer my visiting brother-in-law, S.L., as part of the recovery team.
Several weeks later, (and I had already forgotten about the towing help we provided), S. L. sends a text to me about a letter he received from Mr. Brown, scanning the note on his phone to forward to me.
Personal notes are among my favorite things, and this one really makes my day! Having had time to savor this particular communication, I send a request to S.L. seeking permission from Mr. Brown to use his note in a future newsletter. With permission granted, here is that note:
“Dear Brother S.L.,
I’m sorry to be so late in thanking you and Captain Rob, but I had misplaced your card until today! So, a belated thank you both for giving aid and comfort to a fellow mariner in distress during our stay at Walker Key in early October.
My problem turned out to be badly corroded cables from the battery to the engine, but nothing that a few hundred more didn’t cure. The acronym B.O.A.T stands for ‘Break out another thousand.’ How true!
My misadventure confirmed what I think that I already know. I’ve reached the age (86) when I’m no longer able to cope with emergencies when they arise so I am giving the boat to one of my grandsons. He can take care of it and hopefully take his old grandfather fishing on occasion.
Again, thanks for your help and please express my thanks to Rob.”
The power and importance of writing letters is a subject I often include when speaking and in my newsletter and books. As persuasive as I would like to be in encouraging others to engage in this habit, nothing trumps actually reading such a letter from a grateful person.
Ross’s letter is special to me for several reasons. What stands out to you? Here are some things that I sense have value. How do they compare to your thoughts?
A personal note is a big deal. Huge! It makes my day, inspiring me to write a note back to S.L. A conversation ensues about the letter. And now, here is the note in this newsletter. Not bad for a simple note. Nothing that seems life-changing. But, I know that written communication has powerful potential because I have enjoyed the beneficial experience. When you press pen to paper, there is always the possibility that a life will be changed forever. I love knowing this! This likelihood comes to mind every time I write such a note.
Timing matters. Ross’s note comes on a Monday, when typically, some people are struggling to find a positive thought for the inevitable challenges of a new week. Of course, one of the primary purposes for my Mondays are Great Newsletter is to ensure my readers can rely on inspiration that would negate any negative outlook. (I hope you agree). Think about those within your circle who may need inspiring – encouragement that you can provide.? Is now the right time for a special note?
A note in the mail is powerful. We love opening envelopes. The anticipation is huge. Ross typed his note. While handwritten notes are held dear by the recipient, I appreciate Ross for considering his message and taking time to compose it at his computer. He also addressed and stamped the envelope, then dropped in a mail box. I habitually drive to the nearest Post Office to mail all my handwritten letters. I love the whole process of securely placing my special note into the mailbox, and then imagining the very moment the recipient reads it. It has a huge and positive effect on me, and I am always uplifted for having written the note.
A letter can educate. Mr. Brown provides personal wisdom regarding the cost of boat ownership. As a longtime boat owner, I can attest to his astuteness regarding the financial element. Even unintentionally, we generally impart our acquired and honed wisdom when writing to another.
A note can share your own story. Ross does exactly that. He anticipates future fishing trips in which his grandson takes him. The story is very simple, relatable and powerful. We connect to his story because of the similarities to our own experiences. What we teach to a much younger generation – including children, grandchildren and friends – is what we hope they will adopt in the future and then share with us – keeping the circle of sound wisdom gaining momentum throughout the generations to come. Are you doing this now?
Your story is the most powerful way to change your own life for good. Stories – the gold in your goldmine – often contain the most important life lessons . . . valuable insight meant to be shared. And, a letter is the perfect platform for sharing the gold you have discovered.
Using just the right balance of words, Mr. Brown captured the power of personal notes. Need more evidence? Just go back and reread any of the letters you have kept as treasures throughout your life.
Why write a note?
. . . express gratitude
. . . educate
. . . connect
. . . tell a story
. . . are personal
. . . are kept and treasured
And, on occasion, can
. . . be life-changing.
Is today that day for someone who needs to hear from you?