January 14, 2022
“The act of writing itself is like an act of love,” Georges Rodenbach, 19th century Belgian poet
I recently subscribed to a greeting card subscription service based here in Central Ohio. Every other month they send me a collection of four or five beautiful letter press cards – some funny, some touching, some seasonal – all really great quality cards. Sure, there are greeting cards in every grocery and drug store, but now I always have a card on-hand to send. The real reason I subscribed, though, is to remind myself to send more snail mail to the people I care about.
We live in a time of instant communication and sometimes I’m not sure that is progress. Yes, it’s very convenient most of the time to send an email or text, to quickly communicate something with co-workers, friends, or family. But sometimes those communications feel…soulless. Guideposts Editor Holly Lebowitz Rossi agrees, calling letter writing a form of gift-giving, and sharing what she considers the three gifts of a handwritten letter:
Letters Allow Us to Take Our Time: Texts, emails and other instant communications are dashed off quickly – intended to be read immediately and responded to quickly. A hand-written letter or note has to navigate the postal system. When it arrives at its destination, chances are the recipient will open it when they have time to read it and pay attention. Letters take time to write, and deserve thoughtful attention by the recipient.
Letters Are Unique Types of Conversation: Unlike journaling, letters are aimed at a specific person – they are a conversation with a specific reader. Writing a letter allows you to share a part of yourself with someone you care about, and to ask them about the things you want to know in reply.
Letters Are a Record of Our Relationships: Anyone that uses email knows how quickly an important email can get lost in the avalanche of marketing messages, appointment reminders and spam. Text messages get lost in long threads, and may disappear with a new device. Letters are a far easier thing to keep. They are a record of shared moments, for us to read and remember in the future.
That last one is of particular importance to me. I am of an age that I have almost no emails or texts from my now-gone parents, so the random letters and cards I still have – in their handwriting – bring them back to me in a way an email never could.
When was the last time you wrote a card or letter to someone in your life? The next time you need to reach out, consider putting down that electronic device and hand writing something from your heart.
Written by Michelle O’Brien, Manager of Marketing & Communications