Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Pen and Paper (07/17/14)
TITLE: Getting to Write it Would Have Got it Right
By Noel Mitaxa
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Not only that, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to retain the most recent input I receive...
Something of a challenge; because my memory has always been so good that I could never recall forgetting anything.
Especially names, for I always remember a name—even if it’s the wrong one.
On the odd occasions that someone’s name slips under the recall radar; rather than trying to use any mental association games; I just smile and say, “One of us has forgotten your name, and I’m hoping it’s not you!”
This admission normally evokes a smile from them, and they’re happy enough to supply the absent detail.
However back in April, I tried this approach to a couple whom I’d got to know during a two-week cruise. The guy gave me a puzzled look, and his reply sounded like, “But it is you!”
Seeing my puzzled look, he explained—a little more slowly—“My name is HUGH!”
I’ll never have to write his name down—and his face is also burned into my brain.
Step with me into the pulpit for a moment, where the rubber hits the road for God-given opportunites to interact within a congregation’s relationship with him. Don’t be nervous, even if your heart starts to race, for many preachers experience palpitations.
There’s always a place for your bible and your sermon notes—which may be typed or handwritten—and in manuscript or in point form. But either way, the notes always start with pen and paper, for “a verbal contract is not worth the paper it’s printed on,” according to legendary movie producer Sam Goldwyn.
Emails and social media have produced a real and rapid decline in regular postage. Electronic greeting cards may be very creative, but they are less memorable than cards that arrive by mail. Like a birthday card some close friends sent me. “You must be getting tired of all the cracks about your age…” it began; before continuing, “… but then old people tire so easily.”
My wife also once gave me a card which began, “This Valentine’s Day, I thought you should know how I feel…” Inside, it continued: “I feel fine thanks.”
It’s hard to forget such terms of endearment…
Technology sometimes confines—and even shapes—our emotions in ways we may never foresee, as I discovered a week or two ago. Not having seen an old friend for a month or two, I phoned him to confirm both time and place for a pizza meal—only to be bumped onto his message bank, when an electronic voice robotically informed me that my ten-second message would be converted to text.
While preferring to speak with him personally, I enunciated as carefully as I could, “Looking forward to seeing you at seven pm - at La Porchetta”—which is a local Italian restaurant franchise.
As planned, I rocked up at seven, to see him waiting for me with a huge grin on his face. “I never knew you cared so much,” he told me. When he showed me the screen on his phone, I recognised what he meant, but immediately I longed for simpler days—of pen and paper.
For the screen read: “Looking forward to seeing you at seven pm. At last together!”
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