MY wife reminded me recently that it’s that time of the year when I write my annual family newsletter to send to our friends across many continents.
George Herbert that “good words are worth much, and cost little”.
She had already received some updates from various people, even though December is still some weeks away.
I think it’s a good tradition for keeping in touch with people whom we do not meet regularly, yet are dear enough to us that we want them to know how we are getting on.
Even in this age of constant updates via Facebook posts and WhatsApp, receiving a newsy letter in the mail is still a joy for me.
Sitting down to put our newsletter together compels me to review the year and the progress and status of each member of our family.
I find it helpful to take stock of the year ahead of the time when we traditionally formulate new year resolutions.
For one, there is still time to tie up loose ends and perhaps make good some promises made.
And secondly, November doesn’t have busyness of December with its extended festive season.
So there is more time for reflection.
So what will my newsletter say? Well, there have been happy moments this year as well as sad goodbyes, high points as well as low ones.
There were exciting new frontiers to explore for one member of the family, hurdles to overcome and challenges to face for another.
It has been a mixed bag and I am grateful for every experience.
I know that though not all journeys are pleasant ones, they are a means to make me complete.
I try and give equal space in our newsletter to each member of the family – my wife and my two boys – but it is inevitable this year that I will have more to share.
There is much to update on the ups and downs of my fourth battle with cancer where the timeline demarcated with dates on the calendar year cannot really tell the full story.
Then there is the joy of having this column emerge as a book, which also gives me the opportunity to pen a few lines to friends who want me to autograph their copies.
A favourite sentence I have used in this context is, “May you uncover gems to treasure in the pages of this book.”
I have been in a rather communicative mood this year, perhaps because I am on extended medical leave, with time to spare to write personal cards and letters to dear ones, near and far.
I firmly believe that encouraging words can be balm for the soul.
I have seen the restorative power of well chosen words of positive affirmation, whether written or spoken, used at just the right time.
At the same time, I have learned that in communicating, we must not expect to always get a response.
I believe that not getting a response does not mean that one’s sharing is not appreciated.
We are just different and express ourselves differently, that’s all.
If what I share in a private note, or even in a public column such as this, has the effect of bringing joy to the person reading it, then that is all that matters.
In the remaining weeks of the year, I will make it a point to convey my appreciation for those around me.
I will remind myself that each day is a precious gift, and I will love well and live fully.
And I will certainly start working on the family newsletter now.
Soo Ewe Jin The STAR Home News Sunday Starters Sunday November 8, 2015 MYT 12:00:00 AM