I don’t think anyone can deny there is something special about handwritten notes, cards, and letters. Especially in our culture where so much of our communication takes place online or in a text. Handwritten communication evokes a simpler time, a slower pace, and a sense of realness or closeness that most people can appreciate. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the efficiency of twitter, facebook, email, blogs, and texts. I use them all like crazy to interact with folks, BUT I am a firm believer in the importance of sitting down and taking time out of your life to write someone something. There is much to be said for seeing someone’s handwriting, mistakes, doodles, and whatever other fingerprint they create and holding the beautifully crafted paper. And who doesn’t like stashing away thoughtful cards or love letters in a shoebox and bringing them out every now-and-then?
Every single week while I was in college, my grandmother and Aunt would send me a card or a letter (sometimes with cash inside:)). I think at the time, I took this for granted somewhat. I loved going to my mailbox, peeking inside, and then pulling out a colorful envelope with familiar script on the outside. It was exciting and it made me feel special, but I do not think I realized what it meant from their end. They made it a priority and took the time to write and send me a letter every single week. To them, it was not so much to make a statement about slowing down in our modern, fast-paced lives, but it was simply a way they communicated and showed love to people. I am told my late grandmother did the same thing- she wrote notes to the people in her life to show that she cared about them. To them, it was something simple, but the more I think about it, it speaks volumes of the state of their hearts. They were looking to encourage and brighten days. They were hoping that the recipient would receive a little joy when they reached into their mailbox doing a mundane chore that led to a nice surprise.
I have always liked to send cards to people, but I find the act of writing and sending a note has more and more meaning to me as the days go by. It has become a means to slow down and listen for a whisper to be used to encourage someone. When I shift into a perspective of encouragement and seek ways to encourage others, writing a letter is a simple and meaningful way to do it. Hannah Brencher shares what letter writing means to her and how that love led to an international movement of letter writing. I found this video last year and just love what she says about the power of writing letters and the impact it can have on the recipient. She eloquently communicates the art of letter writing and the reality that it is so much more than paper funneling through the postal system. Watch her here: TED Talk.
- Creative Encounters: Conversations with Hannah Brencher (hersilentmusings.com)