Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)
TITLE: Scribes and Letters
By Ramona Cook
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I was Mothers official letter writer from my fifth grade year in elementary school. I held the honor of being the second best penmanship student in our County and Mother had a nearly blind eye, so she would always ask me to write her letters for her. Her grammar and spelling were impeccable and she always knew exactly what she wanted to say. It should have been no problem, except that I was more of a perfectionist then than I am now. I would begin, and perhaps three words into the letter, or half way down the page, make what I considered a mistake and feel compelled to rewrite it from the beginning. Over and over again, it was exhausting. Being a perfectionist is exhausting and yet there is room in our world, yes even need in our world, for the perfectionist.
Communicating in a letter is an art to be learned. There are so many different kinds of letters that we may write. We may write business letters or friendship letters; then of course, there is the love letter and the "Dear John Letter." Within the body of the letter we give information and ask questions. Letters are often used to advertise or to collect donations or bills. Any type of communication may be found within the letter.
I was glad when I gained access to a typewriter. Albeit, I had no typewriting instructor; our School Principal was a wise man who got the typewriters and the how to manuals, and set us down at the typewriter saying, read and do. I did learn to type. Mr. Lingerfeldt, our school Principal, taught us many things and only recently passed away at the age of 101 years old, remaining totally alert as he had always been.
My daddy was careful to warn me to learn as the book said, using the correct fingers for the appropriate keys so that I would not be a "hunt and peck typist," he said. Daddy used my writing skills for his mining business. I posted all his journal entries and found it to be as laborious as writing mother’s letters.
At one time in our society it was considered to be impolite to send a form letter or a typed letter or invitation to some one. It was considered to be cold and uninviting. "Well, look, they wrote it by hand," would be the comment upon receiving a handwritten letter. It was a way to say, "You are special, I have taken my time to sit and write to you by my hand."
The Apostle Paul seemed to dictate his letters to others who wrote for him, even as Saint Mabel did to me. It is suspected that Paul had a similar problem which Mabel had, the problem of eyesight defects. Paul’s letters to the Churches often have at the end of them, this comment, "I, Paul have signed this by my own hand." That put his seal of approval to the letter and personalized it.
God did that too, when by His Own hand He wrote the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone and personalized them for us. Showing that these are truly from Him to us, but we never think of the fact that He wrote them by His Own hand and personalized them with the love of His heart. I used to think of the Ten Commandments as restrictions, "fun busters." I have come to understand that my Heavenly Father, just like my earth father, gives instructions to me for my protection.
God did not stop writing when He wrote the Ten Commandments. All of the Scriptures are dictated by Him as holy men of God wrote them down as God spoke. They wrote them by hand very carefully and recopied them by hand, with the same intense perfection that I desired to use in handwriting my mother’s letters.
Should we not read and reread the Letters written to us by scribes, who wrote the messages of wisdom and love by hand, on parchment, communicating to us that we are "special and much loved?"
God is not finished with dictating messages. He continues to inspire and to dictate words of love and instruction and warning and encouragement to scribes of today. Some continue to write them by hand, before publishing them.
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