... and I want to be one
40) Dig out your most attractive stationery and handwrite an actual letter to someone as a means of demonstrating his or her importance to you. —56 Ways to Be Merciful in the Jubilee Year of Mercy
My mom was busy. And by busy, I mean that she had nine kids busy. In all my memories of her, she is always cleaning something, cooking something, or holding someone. Her days were full of constant activity and I rarely, if ever, saw her sit down.
Except on Sundays.
On Sunday afternoon you could always find my mom sitting at the kitchen table, catching up with her “correspondence.” Equipped with her address book, and surrounded by cards, she wrote messages of love, hope and consolation to those who needed it. Recipients ranged from family members to acquaintances and everything in-between. She even wrote to the author of a compelling article she read in a magazine, expressing her appreciation for her sharing her story and empathizing with her pain.
As a child I just couldn’t grasp the purpose of such a seemingly boring and old-school practice. But as I grew older, I began to understand. By sending a card, a small and simple gesture, my mom was sending a powerful message of affirmation and love to each person. She was acknowledging that the milestone they were grieving or celebrating was worth the joy or sorrow that they were feeling. She was saying, “I am here and I stand with you. You are not alone. Right now, as I write this card, I am thinking and praying for you.”
When my mom died, I was approached by a friend of my oldest brother. He told me how moved his wife had been by a recent card she’d received from my mom. He said that of all the things given to his wife after the untimely passing of her father, the thing that was most comforting and most touching was a card with a note that was sent to her by my mother. “They just don’t make women like your mom anymore,” he lamented. “So classy.”
They don’t make women like my mom anymore, and I want to be one.
In this age of the Internet, we have forgotten the power and impact that comes with a handwritten message. It’s just so much easier to shoot out an e-mail or post a two-second response on Facebook. Although not without value, these messages are not equal. Even the most beautiful e-mail will not contain the same warmth and personal touch as a handwritten note.
In looking for a card to send a note to a friend who was faced with the probability of losing her father to cancer, I scoured the racks to find something that was fitting, touching and contained a meaningful message. Instead, I was met with dated prints, cliché sayings and sappy poems. I wanted more. I wanted to send her courage for all the pain and uncertainty that was pending. I remembered a quote from Pope Francis that I had recently written on a notecard and posted by my sink: “Ask Jesus what he wants from you and be BRAVE.” I wanted to send her that.
Necessity truly is the mother of invention. With the help of my sister-in-law and her talented sisters, we created Pio Prints. The task was to update religious greeting cards to appeal to current generations. We are small, but we have a big mission: to spread the message of the saints to encourage, inspire, comfort and congratulate.
This year, participate in the Jubilee by sending mercy to those not within your local reach. As I learned from the best, all it takes is a little time and a stamp.
Maria Garabis Davis holds a Juris Doctor degree and a BA in theology. A former youth minister and now practicing attorney, she resides in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and four children.
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