Pick Up a Pen and Be A Pal!
by Marilyn Henderson
“Pen Pals” – Wow!” How long has it been since you’ve heard those words? For me, it’s been a long time. Those two words certainly bring back memories of another era. It was a time in which letter writing was the initial step in connecting with a Pen Pal. Today, many younger people aren’t familiar with the art of letter writing. The technique itself has changed significantly and taken on a new form with names like texting, email, Facebook, Instagram, tweeting etc.
Being a Pen Pal was having a person or persons you exchanged letters with. Not only a means of communication, letter writing was a way of connecting lives and bringing people together. Many of those we connected with were never seen but we knew them by their words. Sending notes and letter writing were ways of stepping out of our isolated little worlds and sharing with others. You might say having a Pen Pal was like socializing with pen and ink.
In recent months, society has been trying to figure out how to protect the most vulnerable of our population from COVID 19. Yet how is that possible without imposing another real health threat: ISOLATION. The actions of keeping residents of senior living facilities separated from family, friends, and one another are well intended but not without unintended consequences. Research has shown that persons living with little social interaction are often implicated in higher rates of cardiovascular and other types of disease, worsening dementia and Alzheimer’s, and shortened lives.
Perhaps, this is where our church, as the hands and feet of Christ, could step in and make a difference. Just perhaps, we could step back into those “good ole days” of having a Pen Pal. Needless to say, we’re already behaving as we did decades ago – home cooked meals, puzzles and games, neighborhood walks, porch visits with friends and neighbors, driving rather than flying, etc.
Having been in contact with Quail Ridge Senior Living, I can say that they are very interested in pursuing a Pen Pal endeavor with our church. Currently, they have identified 12 individuals who could participate and the care team is excited to see how their residents would react to having a Pen Pal.
Think about it and pick up a PEN. Try your hand at writing again. And after you do, please contact Marilyn Henderson for details if you’re interested in this new discipleship adventure: Marilyn Henderson or 405-831-9650
Fun Ideas for You and your Pal
Don't know what to say to a stranger? Connecting with someone through snail mail can be as simple as a post card, or as creative and involved as you want to make it. The goal is to bring joy to you and your pal as you connect.
Some Ideas! More Tips HERE
*Send a bag of your favorite tea
*Include a printed photo of you (include a card that says your name in the photo)
*Pre-decorated sticky notes