Beautiful Day

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rekindling the Art of Letter-Writing

One of the reasons this blog exists is to "preach" to myself the truths that I want to employ or be reminded of.  Such is certainly the case when it comes to letter writing.  Let me just say I love hand-written letters.  I can remember that in my youth, I seemingly lived for the mail!  I couldn't wait to see if there was anything in it for me.  The same seemed true of my siblings, so there would be arguments sometimes as to who would get the privilege of making the daily walk to the mailbox.  My children seem to have the same excitement over the mail.  And isn't it disappointing when you have days like the ones we laughingly call, "junk-mail Tuesday?"  (or only bills?!)

As much as I have always loved writing and have in the past, been a most LOYAL correspondent to those most dear to me, it is a practice that also now requires more discipline to actually carry out.  Yes, I have been guilty of neglecting (or forgetting) to get birthday cards in the mail.  I am humbled when someone remembers me on such occasions.  Email has its virtues and I am glad it exists.  In fact, one of my closest friends (in another state) and I carry on a regular email correspondence that keeps us quite close, and for that I am incredibly thankful!  Other good friends I also enjoy keeping in touch with this way.  I also like how it keeps me connected to loved ones in ways that would otherwise prove difficult or infrequent due to travel or military deployments.

Still, there's nothing like an old-fashioned snail-mail letter.  I even love the scenes in period dramas where letters are written, delivered, or received.  So much hinges on what those letters say and how they effect the course of the story.  There's nothing like finding a quiet spot to absorb the written words of a loved one.  Extra bonus if one is wearing a lovely gown and sitting in a romantic garden while reading it!

My letter writing habits have not been what they were.  Some of that is just the season of life I am in.  Still, I care about relationships and dear friends.  So I am purposing to spend a few extra moments to rekindle this art that risks extinction in our technologically-driven world (which I stubbornly resist!)

There is also an element of hand-written letters that lends itself to legacy.  I once read an article talking about losing history when all we have is email trails to trace, say, the love of a husband and wife.  Think John and Abigail Adams, for example.  Then there are the ubiquitous email acronyms and ways people talk electronically that leave me wondering about the future of language.  And in case you didn't know, I care quite a lot about language.  It's extremely telling.  Recently, we watched a Civil War documentary that was conveyed largely by the letters written or diary entries of those who were there.  When I listen to the letters that were written, I marvel at how much of our language capacity we have lost in the present.

Valentine's Day is the perfect opportunity to spend extra time blessing others with encouraging words.  We start with our own family.  A couple of years ago, we created this family mailbox.  It was for a Valentine party with other families.  But I now bring it out on February 1st.  Next to it, I place various papers and pens that fit the Valentine theme.  Children excitedly cut out hearts and write down notes for our family members. They secretly go in the box and are removed on Valentine's Day.  Every day there are notes added--and I wish that perhaps we could teach ourselves to do this every day!  For we all need the practice.

Another way we are rekindling the written word is in our sponsorship of our two Compassion children.  We have seen two children all the way through their Compassion program.  This is our third "go-round," you might say.  Sadly, I have not been very good at remembering to write to the children often enough.  By reading the stories of Compassion bloggers like Ann, I have been stirred knowing just how much these children value hearing from their sponsors.  So we write....and hope to do so much more often!

I am thankful that my Country Girls have learned to value letter writing.  They have some particular friends they enjoy frequent correspondence with.  My Young Warrior loves to write letters too.  The only problem is, not too many boys will write back.

This year I'd like to be sending more letters.  It helps to stock up on greeting cards, stationery, and pens.  If you have extra time or creativity, I recommend also keeping card-making materials and even extra fun accessories like calligraphy pens, fountain pens, wax and stamps for sealing.  What matters, however, is actually getting something in the mail.  A relatively simple task that can speak volumes to dear ones.

"What can you write?  Letters could well come first of all.  We all have someone waiting for a letter, and each of us has someone thinking about him or her and wishing the mail would bring some sort of word, some message.  The things you are burning to say, the words you want to use, and the ideas that flow.....should not be bottled up only for publication.  Write now.  Communicate with someone now.  Start by writing a letter to one person, and continue by writing to others who are waiting for a letter."
                                       ~Edith Schaeffer, "The Hidden Art of Homemaking"


No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...