As my wife and I are celebrating a milestone in our married life (30 years), I was looking at the cards and congratulations that came from friends and relatives. I read them, but I came to the conclusion that there were fewer in number than in the past. Hallmark is still doing good business at our house – both in receiving and in sending, but I think my evaluation is correct.
When I came to my first pastorate in Hightstown, I was adopted as a grandson by a wonderful retired teacher. Among many things that I observed in her home was the methodical way in which she would send cards and letters. There was a large supply of cards for various occasions on her desk. One Saturday a month was designated for writing cards and letters and then setting them up to mail one week before the event took place. After I got married, our family moved to the Midwest and without fail, the first anniversary or birthday cards were from Grandma Grace Rogers.
Later on, when I became the Pastor of this church and we published in our monthly newsletter birthdates and anniversaries, I became aware of the small group that we had in our church who would regularly send cards to our church members and friends. In fact, I was so impressed with their practice that for a number of years, I would send little memos entitled “I Prayed for You Today.” In these memos, I would write about what I considered their gifts in the Kingdom of God through which they have blessed our congregation and some of the things that I asked the Lord to bless them in that day.
Now I have to confess that the Hallmark Corporation is kept alive and well in our family by my wife. In fact, there have been a number of times in which my sisters who live on the West Coast and who know me fairly well would mention in phone conversation to thank my wife for the lovely card and note which she sent them and somehow I managed to appendage my name to the signatures.
When I mentioned to my wife that I saw that over the years there has been a reduction in the cards that she would display in various places for me to see, she told me that many of our friends now do the greetings and the exchanges of these cards over Facebook and other communication means which I rarely visit. Indeed, my daughter showed me recently that I had over 120 friend requests waiting for me on my Facebook page.
Good manners in traditional or contemporary ways are important as long as you do them. Remembering people enough to do something for them strengthens our relationship with one another. I read a recent statistic that we are more effective in our work but are also getting lonelier. In this age of fascinating communication, we are communicating less with people that we know or we consider important in our lives.
Why not take a minute and send a card, or if you are by your computer and that is the way you communicate, send a message to your friends that you have thought of them, that you remembered their birthdays, or that you want to rejoice with them in their anniversaries.