My twelve-year-old was doing a report on sheep. As I read it over (she is still at the stage where I am allowed to see her work), it struck me that the word “carding” took on a different meaning for me.
Technically the term carding means to cleanse, disentangle, and collect together (as fibers) by the use of cards preparatory to spinning. When I thought of the hundreds of times I sent greeting cards for one occasion or another, I realized that I was carding too.
Get well cards are an attempt to “cleanse” a person of illness. Similar to prayers, they help the sender to express a wish for recovery, and at the same time help the recipient to feel cleansed and refreshed in the knowledge that someone cares.
Sympathy cards help us to disentangle some of the emotions that explode upon us in times of trial. Even if it is just for a moment, they take our thoughts to a different place – a place where we can reflect upon the thoughtfulness of others and feel some semblance of peace.
Birthday cards gather together all of the fun and joy of celebrating most everyone’s favorite day.
Finally, I thought, these greeting cards are also preparation for spinning the thread that will become the story – the story of recovery, moving on, or subsequent birthdays for all of the people who are remembered with the greeting cards in their lives.