The Most Treasured Love Letters in the World and How I Discovered Them

Debbie Walker

My granddaughter’s love letter project helped me to write one myself.

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The other day my granddaughter asked me to help her write a love letter for a creative writing project in school. I immediately said yes, but I had no clue what to do.

But, we both agreed that a love letter is supposed to convey your feelings to the one you love.

I don’t remember ever writing a love letter, and I wasn’t sure how to proceed. No one I knew wrote a letter of love.

However, this writing assignment began a journey of discovery and healing for my granddaughter and myself.

How do we begin a love letter?

To whom shall we address it? What kind of love do we express in a love letter?

Does it have beautiful flowing handwriting on expensive stationery? Or is written on scraps of discarded paper bags?

Pondering this dilemma, I decided to investigate love letters of the past, present, and future.

Ancient Letters of Love

The oldest recorded love letter is a poem penned in cuneiform on a clay tablet circa 4000 BC and recited by the bride of the Sumerian King Shu-Sin.

She read the poem as part of a sacred rite performed every year to ensure the fertility of the land.

Bridegroom, dear to my heart,
Goodly is your beauty, honeysweet,
Lion, dear to my heart,
Goodly, is your beauty, honeysweet…

Whether this poem is a ceremony or a statement of love, I feel the emotion of the bride as she pours out her heart to her King and her beloved.

Another example of a love letter from the past was written in 54 AD by Paul to a community of believers in Corinth, Greece on papyrus rolls.

In 1 Corinthians 13:1–13, Paul addresses what love is and how to manifest it in our lives.

4. Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of
wrongs.
8. Love never fails…
13. And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Paul’s letter has the eternal elements of love and is the most treasured and widely recognized letter in the Bible.

Love Letters of the Present

My granddaughter then posed a question to me — can we write a love letter to a friend? This concept seemed strange to me at first. Most of my friends are women, and a few are even life-long friends.

However, while thinking about loving friends, I remembered one in particular with whom I have not spoken to for years. Feelings stirred inside me, which I can only describe as longings of love.

I decided to write her a letter even though I don’t think she will be receptive to it. I bought a beautiful card and wrote these few sentences on the inside cover:

Please forgive me for any way that I have offended you. Help me heal the rift in our relationship. You are precious to me, and I love you.

I am almost in tears. I hope someday she will read my letter and we will become friends again. Maybe, I will send it to her for her birthday.

At this point in our research, we decided to look for a parent's love letters to their children.

I discovered a letter from Shaka Senghor to his son articulating the power of love through the written word. He courageously posted in The Roots, a treatise of promise and love for his child.

Son, not only are you the future, but you are also the present, and your place on earth right now, right here, in this very moment, is more important than anything else to me. You are a reflection of the many sons throughout the world who are making it a better place. Thank you for bringing me so much laughter and light.

In certain segments of our society, men who show love for other men are often perceived as weak. From childhood, they teach men to be strong and not cry.

I am encouraged as I read this letter realizing that many fathers are stepping away from culture and tradition to show their children what authentic love is.

Letters of the Future

There is a phenomenon happening today that is about 3,500 years old called Legacy Letters. They are written, audio, and video letters from an author presented to his/her descendants after the writer is deceased.

For example, I found that letters of a mother’s love for her children are especially poignant. In 2017, Hannah Summers shared her mother’s heart-wrenching letter of love to Twitter.com amid her grief.

Remember that I am still with you and still just as proud of you as I always have been. Keep God in your life and never be ashamed to let others know you love God. If you have kids someday, make sure they know how much I love them and wanted to be there to see them.

The deceased may leave instructions for the Legacy Letters to be submitted to the descendants at one time or throughout a lifetime. I believe I may create a letter after learning of this trend.

Finally, I decided the last love letter of the future will be written in red ink symbolizing a broken, and bleeding heart on college-ruled spiral paper.

It is a letter I have yet to write — the one to myself.

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