There’s nothing like getting a personal letter in the mail. Short of wedding invitations and graduation announcements, letters can be few and far between these days. I’m thankful that during my lifetime, I knew about sending, as well as, receiving letters in the mailbox. There’s something special about an envelope with your name inscribed on it, and guessing who it is from. Soon the letter will be opened, and for a few minutes, you slow down and read the contents inside.
But snail mail in recent times has taken a hit. The convenience of technology has usurped the intentionality and slower pace of pen and paper. But many of you, I’m sure, have received somewhat meaningful mail through the United States Postal Service. To some, this blog may sound old-fashioned; bashing technology, however, is not my intent. Technology is amazing and is a creative wonder that yields blessings unmatched by our imaginations. I am taken with its speed, convenience, and creative options. However, sometimes slowing down with pen and paper offers benefits as well.
With that said, here are 5 reasons why one should handwrite a note or letter…
For the recipient:
1. Getting a personal letter in the mail is an unexpected pleasure, a surprise in the day.
2. Anticipating checking the mail and finding an envelope inscribed with your name on it can be exciting.
3. Looking at the return address to guess who it is from is something that is absent from technology and provides some intrigue to the exchange.
4. Wondering about the contents of the letter gets the mind actively involved in getting the letter opened.
5. Reading actual words written by another human on paper is so unusual that it can be a particular blessing.
For the writer:
1. Intention – Something about pen and paper shows thought went into the message being sent.
2. Personality – Your stationery and pens can complement your communication and how your writing is presented.
3. Connection – What better way to reach out to someone in such a personal way!
4. Exclusivity – A letter is private. It’s between you and one other.
5. Dignity – A letter raises human interaction to a higher level of communication.
So what is one to write?
It is surprising how interesting ordinary life can be to a reader. Share a memory, or write about your garden, pets, a needed home repair, or a Bible study give a sense of connection in a letter. Share a recent day trip, a craft you’re working on, or a place you’d like to visit. Continue about the weather, your children or grands would provide some rich content. This brings the reader into your world.
We have an aunt that types an occasional letter to us. Generally, she discusses her recent aches and pains, her retirement friends that she meets each month, some family news, and possibly, she may mention a church service recently watched. That sounds mundane, but we enjoy it very much and appreciate it.
Recently, someone we know moved to another state, and it was a delight getting a real letter from her. Her name was embossed across the top of each page of the stationery. She included news about a particular object she was hanging in her home. She discussed some needed changes in her backyard and a visit to a new grocery store in town. Every word absorbed.
For those who think you are too busy to sit down and write a letter, I totally understand. For me, it’s about carving a few minutes out of a month to write someone you care about who may not be on social media.
There’s something special about going to the mailbox and finding a personal letter with your name on it. It is an expression of individual thought and care, and it’s likely to make your day when received. I suspect keeping letters is happening more now than ever due to the rare nature of the practice. It’s easy to make someone’s day in a distinctly personal way. Write a letter. Take a few moments and scribble out a few thoughts to one who’s on your mind. Order some stamps online or, better yet, visit your local post office to get a few stamps. Letter writing has always been one of the finer things in life, and someone needs to hear from you today.
“Letter writing is the only device for combining solitude with good company.”