A letter between friends is a rather old-fashioned idea, but one that still carries a sense of something a little more thoughtful, personal and caring. The act of writing a letter is imbued with warmth and the gentleness of something shared. It isn’t ordinary.

I know this message isn’t a letter, it is just another blog, but I would like it to be a letter. I would like to be addressing these thoughts just to you, whether we know each other well, a little, or not at all. The fact you are reading these words is a special thing for me and I thank you so much for taking a little time to sit with my sentences and to make what you can of my thoughts.

I am writing to you because I am conscious of two significant disconnects. The first is how little time we have spent in each other’s company in the last 18 months. A time when it has been so hard to reflect with each other and to be at ease with a half-thought or just a silence. The second is how social media (a gift in so many ways) can drive division by the oversimplification of complexity and then insisting, in effect, that we must choose a side.

Both these disconnects can result in a simultaneously lonely and noisy background when our lives already lack too little company, too little peace and not enough reflection.

I received an email this week from someone I do not know, who took the trouble to kindly and politely take issue with some of the things I have written. I reflected that it was a privilege to receive his message, but also that I was sad to have added to the noise in his life.

It made me realise (again) that there is a responsibility we all carry in the messages we share. A responsibility not to just add to the noise. While respectful debate is an invigorating experience, and a good conversation is always wonderful, if we are projecting opinions for no gain, save for a mild sense of “hear me, hear me”, we might reflect that it is not the kindest thing we can do.

It is of course important to feel heard, and I am convinced that to listen is one of the kindest things we can do. However, to throw more sound on the bonfire of cacophony should always be done with care for others. No one wants to be poked in the chest with another unwanted opinion.

So, this is my letter to say that for the next few weeks I am taking a break from writing my blog. I will be back writing again in September when with your help and care I will try to offer thoughts which I hope will resonate, but never divide us.

In the meantime, my hope is that it will not be too long before we can be together, enjoying the richness, joy and uncertainty of simple conversations that spark and wander in wonderful unplanned ways; and where personal opinions matter far less than the sense of simply being with people who care to share a space and time to listen and to encourage everyone to be heard.

I hope you have a wonderful summer and I hope we may meet soon. Thank you for being such a kind and willing companion for me and my words.

Take care.

Paul xx