When was the last time you received a letter in the mail? No, I don’t mean the ones like I receive, informing me of the great opportunity to settle my final arrangements before my family is burdened with the responsibility. Life can begin at any age but it gets fun once you turn 60. But I digress…
I was raised to write letters. Every time I received a gift, I wrote a thank you note. If I was having a party, I created invitations. When I wanted to communicate with a friend who had moved away from the neighborhood, I sent letters. Partly because there was NO privacy on the family phone, that hung in the kitchen, right around the corner from the living room. At least there was a hope that only the intended would be reading my letters. It was just what we did. And it was a big deal when the mail came because a letter meant that someone thought highly of you.
In this age of texting, emoji’s and social media, we have gotten away from the personal communication of the handwritten letter. We’ve settled for the immediacy of snippets of ideas or conversation as opposed to giving time and attention to the connection with someone else. It’s as though we have put relationships in the same category as disposable razors, there when we need them but toss them aside when they become dull.
As December is Write a Friend Month, I challenge you to do something radical. Buy a book of stamps, find a pen and some paper. Then sit down somewhere comfortable and write a letter to a friend. Tell them something about your life, and ask them something about their life. Share an anecdote of an experience you recently had or perhaps pass along your thoughts on a book you are reading. Be sure to inquire if they have seen that new movie or tried the soup at that new restaurant. In other words, engage them, show interest and most of all let them know how much you appreciate their friendship. What comes next? Mail it and know that you have done something wonderful.
You may or may not receive a response by mail. There might be a shift in the earth’s polarity because of the shock… All kidding aside, you’ll most likely hear back that your friend was touched that you took the tine to write. You could start a tradition of writing once a month to that friend or even find yourself writing to other people you know. How cool!
Don’t have anyone to write to? How about writing to a soldier? Maybe you could write to a person in a nursing home? And here’s an idea, why not write to yourself? Or even write a nice letter to someone you may live with! If you want to hand deliver the letter, if you can hand deliver it, that would be nice.
Here’s another idea. Why not gift someone a letter writing kit? Put together a box with writing implements, letter paper, envelopes, stickers and stamps and an address book. Make sure you put your address in the book and include a letter, that you have written, before you wrap the box. You may be surprised to see how warmly your gift is received. Bonus. Give this box to a child and encourage them to write to grandparents, cousins, etc. What a terrific way to help a young person learn how to improve their communication skills.
There is something magical about receiving a letter in the mail. Mail boxes used to be called letter boxes, so I have been told. Wouldn’t it be great to have many reasons to call them that again? So, letter writing is a lost art? Perhaps it’s just waiting to be found!