To send a letter is a good way to move somewhere without moving anything but your heart.
“Honor your father…”
The note was strategically placed on the table next to my keys where I would find it on the way out of the door. “Dad” was written on the folded piece of paper in flowing cursive hand writing. Before I even picked it up a spontaneous smile appeared on my face. My daughter, Megan, has had a knack since she was little, for leaving these little love notes at exactly the right time. Knowing that I had a particularly busy day ahead, she had written, “Have a great day dad. I love you.” I smiled and took the note with me. Why? She had taken the time to pen the note with paper and ink. Not a text – not an email – but a hand written note of love and encouragement.
Even though that was several years ago, I still have that note (along with a lot of others) safely tucked away.
In The Little Red Book of Wisdom’s revised addition, Mark DeMoss laments the lost art of letter writing and states, “Where letter writing is practiced, some letters leave indelible prints on hearts and souls.”
There is something incredibly powerful in written words. Perhaps that is why the words “write” or “written” are used over 300 times in the (written by the way) Bible. The Ten Commandments were written on stone tablets by the finger of God. (Exodus 31:18 ESV) After commanding Israel to keep His statutes – to teach them to their children – to talk about them – to keep them on their hearts – to bind them to their hands – He then said, “write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:9 ESV) Writing His words down gave them added value.
I love what the Apostle John expresses in 1 John 5:13 – “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” (ESV)
As a way to express our affection, and to give honor to Dad, try something different. Write your dad a note. Express your heartfelt feelings. It may take some time, but it is a beautiful way to convey honor to your father.
You may have been hurt or wounded by your father. A note of forgiveness will build a bridge over the pain and bring healing.
Perhaps your father has passed on. Write him a note anyway. You will be amazed how personal and close just the act of writing will make you feel.
If your dad is still living, and it is at all possible, deliver it to him in person.
It just might turn his day around.
Tim Clinton, Ed. D., LPC, LMFT (The College of William and Mary) is President of the nearly 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), the largest and most diverse Christian counseling association in the world. He is Professor of Counseling and Pastoral Care, and Executive Director of the Center for Counseling and Family Studies at Liberty University. Licensed in Virginia as both a Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist, Tim now spends a majority of his time working with Christian leaders and professional athletes. He is recognized as a world leader in faith and mental health issues and has authored over 20 books including Breakthrough: When to Give In, When to Push Back. Most importantly, Tim has been married 36 years to his wife Julie and together they have two children, Megan, who recently married Ben Allison and is practicing medicine in dermatology, and Zach, who plays baseball at Liberty University. In his free time, you’ll find him outdoors or at a game with family and friends.