A Year of Being Kind blog – Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Being Kind? By Mail
Someone I know had a death in his family recently. Right now, the loved ones are gathering for the funeral service, from several states. When I saw my friend a few days ago, I expressed condolences, along with a number of others. And, I pray for him, his family members, and all those who love and mourn their loved one’s passing.
I realize there are many concerns and details to handle when there is a death in the family. I have seen people deal with the death in a number of different ways. Getting angry is common. Unbelief, shaking of the head and denial of the passing is also a way to cope, to find a way to begin to process the news. Extreme sadness, or loud expressions of sadness and sorrow can be another option. I have even had a few deaths at which the family and loved ones did not do much of anything; their family and friends were extremely subdued and silent. All of these responses are valid, and deeply personal. Even those who only knew the deceased slightly may still be strongly affected.
But what about other friends, and acquaintances? People who didn’t have a chance to personally express their sorrow for the death, because of distance? Or poor health? I suspect they might get upset about their weakened physical condition, or feel badly simply about being far away.
I do have an idea. Send a note, or a card. I know that sending greeting or condolence cards might seem to be a habit of yesteryear for some, but people notice. I understand that people are grateful, too. I know I appreciate being remembered with a card. (or even with an email, although “by mail” is the subject of this blog post)
This brings to mind a friend of mine. A good friend, a chaplain, who has a ministry of sending cards. She sends all kinds of cards to all kinds of people. What does the Apostle Paul say at the beginning of the letter to the Philippian church? “I thank God in all my remembrance of you.” (1:3) What a touching way to remember each other, than to send a card or a note with a few words or sentences of genuine interest, care and concern. What a way to be kind! My chaplain friend finds this ministry an opportunity to serve others and to connect with those near and far.
Again, Paul’s words tell us how much Paul appreciated his friends and acquaintances in the city of Philippi, from a long distance away. How much more can we express our care and concern for others through cards and notes? Noteworthy features are the words chosen to communicate, the picture(s) on the card, and the sentiment and attitude of the person sending the card. In other words, things to appeal to the ears, eyes and feelings of the recipient. Also important, the card or note helps the recipient know that you and I care. It doesn’t matter whether we are near or far, what a way to be kind and tenderhearted. God bless my friend, and God be with all who mourn.