I truly hope the U.S. Postal Service never goes out of business. I’ve always looked forward to picking up the mail with anticipation that I’ll receive something special in my mailbox. Most days it’s just “junk” mail, but, sometimes, I get the best gift of all – a hand-written letter.
A dear friend of mine sent me a hand-written letter in the mail recently. Since we moved away from each other, we’ve started this hand-writing thing, exchanging letters through the mail. She’s discovered a passion for fountain pens; I love sending quirky notecards. We both love discovering a beautiful envelope addressed to us, waiting in the mailbox.
Hand-writing is much more free-flowing than electronic mail or texting, which you can edit down to perfection if you sit with it long enough. A hand-written note often contains sidebars and asides and rather random thoughts along the way that may not have come up in a conversation by phone, text or email. The train of thought flows more like the flow of the pen, and since there’s no erasing, it often turns into sentimental ramblings.
Reading a letter requires setting aside a few minutes of time, to really digest it. It’s like sitting and giving that person five minutes of your undivided attention, really “listening” to what they’re saying. You can reread parts that you might have missed or especially loved.
I’ve saved dozens (hundreds?) of hand-written letters over the years. I saved letters that I exchanged with friends in high school. I saved the notes and cards written to me by my Nana, who passed away many years ago now. I saved the ONE hand-written card from my dad’s dad, who was always included by my grandma in every holiday card as “Love, Papa & Granny.” But, once, HE wrote on the card, too, to wish me a happy holiday! His voice was there, coming through the pen on paper, and it brought the biggest smile to my face. Still does, when I read it today.
I continue to save every card sent to me by my immediate family: my dad, mom, sister and brother. My husband has become very good at picking out sentimental cards and writing something thoughtful on them, and I save every one, for some day I know I’ll want to relive those precious words and reminisce about our life together.
You see, words written down on paper become immortalized. They last long after a person has passed out of our lives, or out of this world. When I reread all those notes from a long time ago, or even from a year ago, I’m reminded of a piece of my life story: a friend, something funny that happened or an adventure I had, or a difficult and sad time…it’s like a diary of my life, documented through the voices of those nearest and dearest to me.
In my friend’s letter, she used multiple ink colors throughout, drew a decoration for the letterhead, even wrote a post-script (P.S.) with a bit more info; her handwriting is really nice. At the end she included this quote, “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” – Helen Keller. I look forward to getting to know more of the letter-writing side of my friend.
Is there someone you could be writing to today? Now is the time to pick up a pen and paper and send them the gift and lasting treasure of a hand-written sentiment.