In the very back of a linen closet, buried under linens rarely used, is my treasure box. The box itself is an ordinary box and very unassuming, but piled inside are items that I hold dear. This is my collection box of letters and notes given to me over several decades from people in different facets of my life. Every once-in-a-while, when I run across the box, I take the time to sit on the floor, take the large pile of gems out and re-read them for a trip down memory lane.
There are the love letters exchanged with my soon-to-be husband while we were still in college. The words remind me of the young love that we were fostering and the dreams of the future that we shared. A homemade card written in crayon on yellowing construction paper tells me that my daughter thinks that I am the best mom ever. My mother-in-law wrote a long, heartfelt letter of appreciation for a surprise 40th anniversary party. (Funny, we were never able to share such deeply felt words face-to-face.) The last letter received from my grandfather before his passing always brings a tear to my eye. There are also the notes from students and parents from over the years that tell me how I touched their lives and made a difference. These I find to be sustaining as I return to the classroom each year.
The words touch me in different ways as I go through the phases of my life, but they always fill me with gratitude. Gratitude that I was blessed to have these people in my life. Thankfulness that they took the time to share their feelings and an appreciation for the written word that can be saved, revisited, and treasured for a lifetime.