What's in Your Top Drawer?

There’s something about the top dresser drawer that invites us to store treasured keepsakes there. 

My curiosity for that reality began when I was about three. My sister and I shared a bedroom as well as a tall, hard-rock maple dresser. Being the observant (and annoying) younger sister, I realized that my sister had some special items stashed in that top drawer. I just didn’t know what they were, but I was determined to find out!

Unfortunately, I was too small to see into the top drawer even though I could manage to pull it open. One day, when my mother and sister were safely preoccupied elsewhere in the house, I decided to solve the mystery of the drawer contents. So, I pulled out the top drawer a bit, then opened a lower drawer a bit more to serve as a step-stool. As soon as I stepped onto the bottom drawer, the unexpected happened. The heavy dresser starting tipping forward. Thankfully, the dresser’s deadly trajectory was stopped by one of the posts on my bed, but I was pinned between the dresser and the bed post...screaming for help. My mother came to the rescue some time later. (Seemed like an hour...but probably only minutes.) That terrifying experience served as an effective deterrent for a nosy sister for quite some time! 

Over the last several years, I’ve had the sad task of cleaning out the top dresser drawers of both my husband and my father. What I found in those drawers further strengthened my belief in the importance of written words of affirmation. In my husband’s drawer, I found a letter that his late father had written over 35 years before. The letter expressed the love of a father for his son and pride in his character and accomplishments. And the reason that Mike’s dad expressed for writing the letter was that he had received a similar letter from his own dad many years earlier...a letter that was one of his most cherished possessions. 

After my 93 year old dad died, I once again faced the sad task of cleaning out a top dresser drawer. In my dad’s drawer, I found a note of encouragement that a high school chemistry teacher had written to my dad in the 1930’s...encouraging him to “try hard to get on to school somewhere.” That teacher really changed the trajectory of my dad’s life. She saw the tremendous potential my dad had...and convinced him to change from a commercial track to a college preparatory track. Not only did my dad go on to college, he eventually earned a PhD in Chemical Engineering and became a Dean at the US Naval Academy. That teacher’s  words of encouragement remained a treasured remembrance to my dad throughout his life.

 What’s in your top drawer? Do you have an encouraging note or letter from someone you love? And what about the people who matter most to you? Would a letter from YOU be in their top drawer? If not, why not write one this week?