Why do we have so much trouble telling the ones we love how we really feel about them?
My mind has been on this problem for a few months now because of a program I’ve been involved in called Letters From Dad, which was organized by a group from my church.
The program and book of the same name by Greg Vaughn promotes the idea of leaving a legacy for future generations by writing blessing letters to family members, especially children, telling them of your desires for their lives and how you feel about them.
Having written professionally most of my life, you would think this would be a simple thing for me but I’ve learned a lot. The need to participate in such a program was driven home to me this last week after the death of a former coworker.
I hired Mickey Winfield at the PNT and spent a lot of time with him over the two years or so that we worked together. I got to witness first-hand how much he loved his little girl Zoe. It was a rare night that we didn’t talk about his daughter and he easily shared his pride and concerns about her with me.
We worked late nights and he always called her before bedtime. If Zoe and Mickey’s wife Lacy brought supper or a treat down for Mickey it would light up his evening even when he was having a bad day. You could really see his spirits lift.
I think seeing him did the same for her.
It was a shock to find out last weekend that death had separated Mickey from his family, even though I knew his health was not good.
I know Mickey shared his thoughts and dreams with his daughter regularly; he told me he did and I watched it in the way he dealt with her. I don’t know if he wrote to his daughter or not about his feelings for her but I hope he did. If not, I do know she received her dad’s blessings first-hand.
Many of my generation and earlier didn’t receive that type blessing from our fathers because men have been taught not to show emotion, even to their own family. We may have known our fathers loved us but we would have liked it if they had found a way to express it directly like Mickey did.
My point here is to remind everyone, whether you have children or not, that life is short and the breath to whisper the words “I love you,” to someone close can be taken from us at any instant.
We can’t leave those things we need to say unsaid and we can’t leave this life without passing on a legacy of faith, hope and love.
Write it out in a letter, put it in a card, send it in an e-mail or just put your arm around your loved one and let it fly from the heart. If you try and the words aren’t there, ask God, and he’ll put them on the tip of your pen. Eloquence or poetry won’t count for much but sincerity from your own heart will touch them for a lifetime.
Karl Terry writes for Freedom New Mexico. Contact him at: email@example.com