There’s probably not a week that goes by that I don’t find myself thanking God that I live at this particular time in history. As a communicator, I love the ease of putting my thoughts and words “out there” where others can access them.
Whether it’s the speed of email, the ease of Twitter or the connectedness of Facebook; these tools help us all communicate and stay close to those we care about in a convenient way never before known to man.
But I’m also aware that the convenience of these new tools has caused the older ways to fade…namely the lost art of the handwritten letter.
In a day when we are awash in stuffed inboxes, we find our mailboxes not nearly as full. Mailboxes have become the recepticle of circulars, direct mail, bills and notices. Not many of us can be accused of rushing to the mailbox to see what the postman has brought us anymore.
But have you ever been sorting through the bills and other junk mail in your pile and immediately stopped when you came upon that hand addressed, hand stamped envelope? What a treasure! If you’re like me, you even set it aside to be read (savored) at a time when you can give it your full attention.
I believe there is something deeply personal about a handwritten letter. There’s just something so intimate about holding on to the paper and reading the ink that another human held and wrote…shared directly from one heart to another. And although email is certainly much faster, paper and pen is much more special.
When you sit to write you are sharing your heart in a way that email just can’t duplicate. I believe that a handwritten letter can be even more intimate than a phone call. Something about the reading as opposed to hearing…and the writing as opposed to the speaking; just make it more significant in some weird way. Who knows…maybe we actually process the information differently when we read than when we hear.
But once you’re convinced that you want to try becoming a letter writer…you’ll need to acquire a level of discipline to actually sit down and do it. Because it does take longer and because you are writing, it will take some thought…some intentionality.
And then when you’ve got the letter written, you need to make the effort to actually stamp it and put it in the mail. But that’s all part of what makes the whole process so special to the recipient.
I’ve tried to set apart some time each week to sit down and write letters. I’ve made a goal of just one or two a week, although I could probably do more.
So the next time you want to connect, really connect with someone…maybe it’s time to sit down and write. Give those you care about something more significant than words on a screen. Give them your heart.
With a real pen on real paper.