Simple Things: Letter Writing
In an age of modern technology, emails, text messages, and all the other forms of instant communication, there is one way of communicating that seems to have been lost. Letter writing. It can feel outdated and old but it is an experience that modern technology cannot touch.
Handwriting a letter is a personal form of communication, it takes your effort and your time. It takes sitting down and taking personal moments of your day to write out your words, feelings, and thoughts, all for another person. I have the most wonderful memories of my grandmother, who was an incredible letter writer. It was her only form of communication for many years and she was faithful in staying touch with her children, grandchildren, and friends. I always knew that there were at least two days of the year that I could look forward to getting a card or letter. One of them was my birthday and after I got married, it was my anniversary. My grandmother passed away several years ago, but at times I open my wooden trunk and pull out the letters and cards that she lovingly took the time to write. I have very fond memories of being at grandmothers home, she would ask me to walk down the long lane with her, we would arrive at the mailbox, insert her cards and letters, raise the red flag and send those letters and cards off to their final destinations. Those cards and letters were placed in the hands of many others who had the simple task of taking them from her loving home, and delivering them to those that would enjoy the time she took to personally write each one. I also recall, that mail time was one of my grandmothers favorite times of the day, she loved getting letters and for many years she kept and treasured each one.
After being married for 13 years, my husband joined the military. I knew that the day would come in basic training that I would get a phone call, the one that would only last a few moments. The phone rang one night, my husband's voice was on the other end of the line and he managed to tell me his address between moments of choking back tears. Our days of communicating by text messages and phone calls came to an end with a three-minute call. We were left with having to rely solely on handwritten letters and every day at the end of my day, I sat on our bed, penning the words that described our day, how my heart ached without him home and how I couldn't wait to be back together. His letters were precious to me and my letters helped him get through his toughest days. They are letters that will forever be treasured, they are proof of times that were hard but times that we got through. Our collection of letters is some of my most treasured possessions.
why we should revive the lost art of letter writing
1. It's personal
It is the paper that you chose, ink from your pen that writes the words in your mind carefully on the paper. Your hands fold the letter, place it in the envelope and you seal it. You carry it to a place to be delivered, entrusted it to others who carry it to another mailbox. The paper that was once in your home is now in the home of someone else. A letter creates a connection that no modern form of technology can offer.
2. It is your time
Letter writing takes your time, reflection and your effort. It is a time in your day that you have set aside to spend moments sharing your thoughts and words with someone else. It is a moment of slowing down in a hurried world to brighten someone else's day.
3. Letter are pieces of history.
Letters are special and often saved. They are not quickly deleted but generally tucked away into boxes or drawers to be saved. They are left for future generations to read and to get a glimpse into days of the past. I often think about those letters from long ago when lovers were separated by war or families lived miles from home. Their letters gave us an idea of their days and their thoughts. What will future generations have? How do we carry on pieces of our history? Technology is great for communicating quickly but it cannot replace the physical piece of paper that we can hold in our hands and treasure. Letters are a legacy.
4. Letters bring joy
We often hear the words, "happy mail" in our current generation. It usually is spoken when a package arrives in the mail filled with an item that we have anxiously been awaiting. There is a reason that it is called, "happy mail" and that is because it brings joy. A letter can do the same thing. In an age where our mailboxes are filled with junk mail, political fliers, and bills, it is a welcome sight to see a hand-penned envelope written especially for you. It brings joy to walk into the house, open the letter and read the words that someone else took the time to write, just for you!
ways to revive the lost art of letter writing
Find some beautiful stationery that you will enjoy penning your words on. Stationery can be personalized, handmade, or purchased online. If you find something you love, you will find that you may be more apt to use it frequently.
2. Good pens
You don't have to purchase an expensive pen but I find that there is a difference between the dollar packs and the pens that cost a little more. I write best when I have one that has a great ease of flow with the ink and one that feels comfortable to hold.
3. Make time
Find a time in your day when your not hurried, and when you can collect your thoughts to adequately write them out. I find that early morning works well for me when the house is quiet and my thoughts are collected. I also find that I am more likely to finish the letter when I set aside time that will be uninterrupted. Don't forget to have your envelope near so that you can go ahead and prepare it for mailing.
In this age of instant technology, where we can log in and see the most recent updates on our friends and family members, you may wonder who can I write? I say, still write a family member if your able to do so. It doesn't have to be a long detailed letter. Sometimes, a card with a simple short note will suffice. There is also the option of finding a penpal who shares the same love of writing letters. There are plenty of ways to find a penpal online but always use a trusted service and be careful about who you give your address to. Then, there are our soldiers. I will never forget my husband sharing how my letters got him through the hardest days of his training and time away from us but then he would talk about how there were soldiers that never got a letter. They stood in the same room every day at mail call with everyone else and no one ever took the time to encourage them through the single act of writing a letter. I have no affiliation with Adopt a Soldier but I have recently been looking into their services as a way that our family could encourage a soldier with letters. And, of course, your always welcome to send handwritten letters to my mailbox. You can find my address on the right hand side of the screen in my sidebar.
A beautiful handwritten letter is an act of creativity. It is an intentional act of using your time to bless the life of someone else. Handwriting a letter opens a window to the soul that no form of modern communication can ever do. When a letter makes its arrival, you savor it and tuck it away for safekeeping. Are you ready to fall back in love with the art of slow communication?