Fr Hugh O’Donnell is a poet and ministers with the Salesian community in the parish of Sean McDermott Street in Dublin. He shares the following reflection with us, entitled ‘As the Postman Said’:
Allow me to speak up for snail mail! For snail is not so slow and these little creatures with a shell know well their whereabouts and will accomplish all that’s asked of them from life with due diligence and wisdom. Even an hour or two spent in their company, you suspect, would be awesome.
I received a letter yesterday (not an email!) which I have read more than once and will return to. My friend has taken the time. For as long as she wrote I guess she was thinking of me, of shared interests, some local news, mentioning how the journey is going, the sick and the mended, before signing off.
And recently Maurice came across some letters in a book of my grandfather’s. They read like relics of another age now like the following one from April 1960 with its formality of expression and comforting tone that sound quaint to us; ‘hereabouts the weather is seemingly settled and seasonable and that is as one wants it in relation to things generally’. Sixty years later, I say, ‘bring back letter writing. Don’t let the postal service die! Leave something for the next generation!’
‘I don’t give gifts anymore’, says Rupert Sheldrake; ‘I give experiences’ as he tells of going on a walking pilgrimage to Canterbury with his grandson to mark the young man’s birthday. A letter is a little pilgrimage from one heart to another, a Camino made by the hand as it moves deliberately down the page.