I just received the following email: “This morning I read your article about the game chutes and ladders. My life lately has been at the bottom of the chute just like your son. And your article helped me change my perspective looking for the ladders rather than sitting and complaining about being back at the bottom. Please keep writing.” --LindaI read it a few times as I just wasn’t sure what she was referring to. And then I did a search of my own name, and sure enough, found an article I wrote: Adult Lessons From a Child’s Game: Chutes and Ladders. I wrote the piece in November of 2009. It was a simple, reflective piece of an exchange I had with my son who at the time was seven-years-old. That son is now 18, graduating high school and off to college.
Had this woman not taken the time to write to me, I would have completely forgotten that I ever wrote this article. Rereading it brought me back to that day, sitting on the floor with my child and playing a game, coming away with a meaningful connection and lesson.
But there was so much more that came from it. And only because I took the time to write it down.
All these years later, that piece impacted another person. Someone I don’t know. Someone I would never have known. But because my writing touched her, she wrote me, touching me. Our writing has connected us and made a lasting impression in different ways and for different reasons.
We write what is meaningful for us in the moment. And our lives move on and change as we develop and grow. But what we wrote remains. It has permanence. And what was meaningful for us then, becomes meaningful for someone else today and will again tomorrow. We may no longer need that lesson, but there is no question that someone else does.
PS: Linda, you wrote me to thank me. I have to thank you. I needed the reminder your words provided. So yes, I will keep writing. This piece is thanks to you.