We are collecting the fronts of greeting cards at church for the auxiliary of a maternity home this month, and so I decided to go through some of my old cards and see if there were any that I had missed in previous years and now was ready to let go of.
After an hour or so, I had come up with quite the pile of cards to split and give away. The box of cards remaining was still pretty full, but you could tell that there were fewer then there were before.
Going through the cards was quite the trip down memory lane; there were the usual birthday and Christmas, Easter, Halloween and Thanksgiving cards, not to mention several postcards that had been received. But there were also more than a few cards from my seminary days from my writing back and forth with a few members back home.
Of course when going through cards you cannot just look at them and put them in one pile or the other, you have to at least scan what the person wrote. And as I scanned one particular card, it read ‘When you come back, I have some bushes that need to be trimmed.’ At the time I am sure I made some sort of mental note or something to tell me that when I was back home to see if those bushes still need to be trimmed; but today, almost 10 years later, I really could not tell you if I ever did.
Such is the case with keeping cards and notes from years ago. There were more than a few familiar names and memories that came back reading the cards. How many birthdays did I celebrate with the neighbor lady whose birthday was a day before my own? How sweet was that faithful church volunteer who sent all those birthday cards on behalf of the Sunday school? How thoughtful were those family friends and coworkers who always sent a card at Christmas? How long has it really been since some of them have died?
Some of this nostalgia is lost today. On facebook I got some 30-40 birthday wishes this year, saw dozens of holiday greetings on Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s; but the reality is that in 10 years or 20 years or even longer, I, nor anyone else, will have that record, that personal note, that bit of memories from yesteryear; no one will sit around and try to decipher a scribbled note, wondering what it means when someone asks that you come trim their bushes, or write a note to someone, or simply remember them in your thoughts.
I suppose a generation of children and grandchildren are rejoicing that social media has made the long and arduous task of cleaning out a box of birthday cards a thing of the past; but as for me, I still have a box full of cards, some going all the way back to when I turned 5; and I will keep them for a while longer, because those cards still bring warm memories to the heart, even all these years after they were written.
I just wish I could remember if I trimmed those bushes or not.