Just recently, because of Facebook, I reconnected with a dear, old friend from college. I guess you could call her my college crush. I haven’t seen or spoken with her since 1985, so it was actually pretty awesome to find her after all these years. Facebook gets serious points from me for that reason alone.
My friend and I began to correspond on Facebook, sharing bits and pieces of our life in a staccato fashion: a little here, a little there. It reminded me of when we were young, and how we would write letters to each other over Christmas and Summer breaks. Only those letters were much longer, by pages and pages. Then this year, for my birthday, she surprised me with an incredible, yet slightly weird gift. She packaged all of our college-years correspondence into a binder, in chronological order!
Wow! Did I really write that much? BY HAND? It got me to thinking about a few things. One: do younger people still write long letters, even if it’s in an email? Or is the majority of correspondence today done in short, quick messages? Two: does anybody actually write anymore? I recently heard that many schools have dropped “hand writing” and “writing in cursive” from their standard curriculum. Everyone today communicates with the keyboard. And many times, it’s in 140 characters, or less! The third thing that I thought about was: holy cow, I was a strange person when I was 19. Those letters that my friend saved were a window into my past. I had kept journals when I was younger, but I couldn’t tell you where they are, or if they even exist. But reading those letters gave me some real insight to who I used to be.
Knowing who I was when I was a young man gave me enormous compassion for who I am today. I was brought back to a time when I was full of passion and the world was my oyster, so to speak. I couldn’t wait to get started with my adult life, and the possibilities seemed endless. I had hope and courage and joy. Somewhere along the way, that exuberance was covered up by reality and life’s problems. Reading those letters gave me permission to tap into that passion again, and to see the world, even if for just a short period of time, as I did when I was young. The young man who wrote those letters is alive in me today, and I am grateful to my college sweetheart for safe-guarding that man for all these years.