I'm stopping in for Rosemary Johnson today - just in case any of you are experiencing a sense of deja vu!
I've been thinking some more about letter writing, especially after reading the comments on the post I wrote about this on 14th June. And I've been mulling over the importance of mutual communication, following on from a Facebook group discussion: the to and fro that, like a tennis rally, pushes us into different areas and stretches our thinking.
There's nothing more disheartening than spending precious time and emotional energy on crafting a letter or writing a blog, only to get no reply, no reaction. Words are meant to have an effect or, at the very least, they deserve an acknowledgement that they have been read, heard. Those songs, like The Pogues' Fairytale of New York or Bob Dylan's Must Be Santa, which are built on a call and response pattern, lose their effectiveness without it. Letters and blog posts that garner no response are similarly limited.
I keep a prayer journal. Lots goes in there: Lists of what I'm thankful for; confession of fears, worries, and failings followed by self analysis; jottings of ideas for writing; quotations from books I'm reading; requests for people I care about and help with my work; sometimes just my rambling thoughts as I struggle with something and try to figure out why and a way forward. It's a bit of a dumping ground at times.
But there is something useful about doing it in writing - perhaps it's my natural 'language'. Or perhaps it's because it forces me to slow down, to clear some mental space, to think and listen.
It's easy for prayer to be all me but really it needs to be a to and fro of call and response, an ebb and flow of conversation. Or in my format, an exchange of letters.
Maybe it would be useful to use and hone our skills in writing a letter to God? Just something private between Him and us. Perhaps we can write things it's hard to speak in public. Perhaps we can honour Him in careful crafting to express deep feelings or draw close to Him with cosy chat. Perhaps it's time to consider how we address Him (and why). Perhaps we can just tell Him about our day. Or simply tell Him we love Him.
And then maybe we can take just as much time to quietly listen and jot down what His reply is.