Letters Mingle Souls

The medieval poet, John Donne (above), said it best. “Sir, more than kisses, Letters mingle souls….”.

In the private, quiet moments when our minds are freewheeling and our defenses are down, the pen becomes the perfect tool for translating our soul’s complex energies, thoughts, and emotions into words on paper. Letters are the vessel that capture our true, raw essence in a way that allows others to peer through the curtain and to see more of who we are at a soul level.  

I am an introvert, yet I enjoy knowing and socializing with people. The key for me is keeping the size of the group of friends or relatives on the smaller size. I generally try to avoid larger gatherings, mostly because I crave meaningful conversation and connections, and big parties rarely allow me to have these. Typically, when mingling in a large crowd, there is little time for anything more than small talk and the usual pleasantries, the weather, or other superficial topics. I am easily over-stimulated at these kinds of events and often leave them feeling cheated somehow. They can be pleasant enough, but my desire to truly get to know people has usually been thwarted.

I absolutely luxuriate in those times when I can take part in deeper conversations and feel challenged by the pull and tug of sharing differing outlooks and opinions. Going deeper and wider rather than skin deep is so much more rewarding and interesting to me. In those shared moments together, human closeness and intimacy can thrive. I can better know what makes each person tick. This is endlessly fascinating to me because I love stories. Every life is just a bunch of interesting stories strung together by memory and speech. Sharing these stories is what makes relationships so meaningful, educational, and rewarding.

I love letter writing because it often immediately creates the same kind of beautiful intimacy between people. Dictionary.com defines intimacy as, “close familiarity or friendship; closeness.” Letters allow us the sacred space to express what we feel and think in an unvarnished way and often with more honestly than we might have conveyed verbally–heart to heart and soul to soul. This is a beautiful thing. It seems harder somehow to hide our inner worlds from others when we have used the written word.  

Letters share something profound in their raw honesty and sincerity. Not only do the recipients in the here and now get to enjoy looking into the soul of the writer, but those living in the future will as well. In a few honest words, we become more than a statistic, more than a photo, more than a name on a family tree. When my husband found the letters of his great grandmother in his parents’ home, he could easily connect with the loving soul that his great-grandmother had been through her sweet, caring words, and to feel anew the tragedy of her early death from typhoid fever.  

Each of us has the opportunity now to use letters as a means of sharing the best of our souls with others. If we do, we can be exquisitely vulnerable in the present and forever immortalized into the future.