I just came across something I wrote on this day 9 years ago – when my mom was still alive.
I’m glad I wrote it when she was able to read it.
The letter is 40 years old.
The other day when I went over my mom’s house there was lying on her counter a letter that I had written her during my freshman year of college, some thirty-one years earlier.
As I was reading my own words off of the wrinkled yellowing pages a few things came to mind.
The first thing was how much has changed over those thirty-one years.
A hand written letter sent through the mail.
Think of that.
Actually putting pen to paper, with your own handwriting, placing that communication in the mail and within four days having it arrive at the intended destination.
Just think of how much life has sped up.
Now that same letter can be sent within a few seconds to its target.
Time has changed.
The second thing that struck me was the creased, wrinkling, yellowing paper.
Obviously the letter was folded, put in an envelope and sent through the mail. When the envelope was opened and the letter taken out of the envelope, the creases never went away. Along the creases, the paper became worn and thin and that is where the yellowing was most dominant. The creases, wrinkles and yellowing were a way of the universe authenticating the age of the letter.
Not with a time stamp, but with the wear of time.
As I read the letter I started to realize how much has not changed.
You see I wrote the letter, some thirty-one years ago to inform my mom that I no longer had the desire to wrestle in college.
That I had lost the desire to compete, that I thought that wrestling was a dead end for me.
My main reason that I stated in the letter was that I no longer had a BIG goal.
The sacrifices that I would have to make seemed greater than the prize I would receive.
And just like that I stopped.
The switch was turned off.
In the rest of the letter I wrote about appreciation and lack of communication.
I let my mom know how much that I appreciated all that she did to support me during my wrestling career under some tough financial times and how sorry I was for never letting her or my father know that; that they were great people and that I really felt bad for never communicating that to them during my now seemingly selfish pursuit of wrestling glory.
This part of the letter confirmed two things to me.
One, the importance of having BIG goals, and two, the importance of communicating ones appreciation.
When one does not have BIG goals, the journey and the price one has to pay will not seem worth it, and slowly but surely your goals will turn to dreams, your dreams will turn to wishes, and your wishes will turn to dust.
Just like that.
As far as the communication part of the letter, I envisioned myself nearing the tail end of my life, rummaging through a box of valuable items that I had saved throughout my life and coming across a wrinkled, yellowing, handwritten letter from my son who let me know how much that he appreciated everything that I did for him; how that would make me feel.
And I smiled.
Because I am positive that my mom felt the same way.
One of her most valuable possessions in her life was a letter from me letting her know that I appreciated her and the way that she brought me up.
And that was a great feeling.
Today I put a copy of that letter that I sent to my mom, some thirty-one years ago, in my own box of my life’s most valuable items.
That letter may have taken four days to get to my mom when it was originally written, but it has lasted a lifetime.