13 February 2008

My Dearest....

How hard it is to ... burn to ashes
the hopes of future years when,
God willing, we might still have lived
and loved together to see our boys
grown to honorable manhood around us.
If I do not return, my dear Sarah,
never forget how much I loved you,
nor that when my last breath
escapes me on the battlefield,
it will whisper your name.
Forgive...the many pains I have caused you.
How thoughtless ... how foolish I have sometimes been.
~ Simon Ballou to his wife, Sarah, before the Battle of Bull Run

Sigh. No one writes like this anymore. At least, no men I know write like this anymore. Okay, Sullivan, that poetic gentleman, writes like this I am sure of it, as does Fallen Sparrow. But such poetic prose and authentic emotional expression are a rarity today. Would you not agree?
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I love letters. All kinds of letters. I write “sheets and sheets” to my loved ones. Missives filled with love, local news, spiritual angst and personal goings-on. I find that my thoughts and feelings are more coherent and are better expressed with quill and ink than face to face. Not to say that I do not adore being in the presence of loved ones as well. I do! And at rare times, the Spirit inspires me to say things that are just what that person needed to hear. But more often than not, I am struck mute by the depth of what I am feeling or the complexity of the thoughts that spring to mind. It is only later, in writing these thoughts and feelings on paper does light come or solutions to problems are discovered. Such is my nature I suppose.

This need to write things down is a cyclical one. As you can tell by my blog, I am at times sadly remiss in my writing duties – even ones I have a deep affection for! I have found that at those times when I being less honest with myself; when I am most in the grip of fear; when hope has taken flight, seemingly for eternity, then my heart bolts the door, locks away the paper and the ink dries up. When I feel safe and wanted and heard then it like spring and my quill races across the page with abandon. And I am much, much the happier for it.

My loved ones affirm me in this as well. They feel the absence of my scribblings as keenly as I feel the absence of the thin quill in my hand. And when in full letter-writing mode, I pen letters and notes to loved ones who practically live next door as well as those I cannot be with face to face.

Winston Churchill and his wife, Clemmie were prodigious letter-writers and one would often pen notes to the other while they were sitting merely in the next room. My dearest friend, Beth - my twin in every respect and especially in this one - and I are stamped of the same mould. We are both such adorers of the written word and that certainly will not change once we are called to marital life. I feel sure that such will indeed be her happy lot of writable marital bliss, as she is being courted with much wordy love as only Sullivan can pen. ;-)
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Reading other people’s letters gives me great joy and inspiration as well. Currently, I have several books of letters in my library: Evelyn Waugh, George Bernard Shaw, J.R.R. Tolkien, St. Therese of Lisiuex, to name a few. The latest edition was a significant natal anniversary gift from another dear friend, Christiana ~ the letters from Blessed Jordan of Saxony to Diana d'Andalò called “To Heaven with Diana!” They are among the most beautiful, passionate and spiritually edifying letters I have yet read.

And that, dear readers, requires a future post all its own!

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela
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