During lent I gave up Facebook, which meant that I didn’t have a quick access route to speak with my Aunt in America.
So I took the time one Sunday afternoon to sit down and pen her a letter.
I thoroughly enjoyed the brief hour spent telling her about my week, explaining the reasons for my lack of communication with her over the previous weeks and why I’d given Facebook up for lent. I even printed off a few recent photos and attached them to the letter to post the following week.
I felt a sense of euphoria in writing to her and showing her that she meant enough for me to take time out of my day to really try and connect with her in a way that is now, often seen as laborious and time-consuming. After all why write a letter when you can type a quick email or scour social media for the answer to “What have you been up to lately?”.
Her response to my letter was uplifting and gratuitous. She thanked me for taking the time to write to her and for the photos. She said I made her cry with joy and my written words bought her comfort at a time when she really needed to feel loved, appreciated and cared for. (I touched on connection in my previous Friday’s Thought: Going Deeper).This really made me think about how we have moved forward and evolved over the years, but it begs the question: Is our constant striving for the quickest way to gain information, hindering our ability to connect in a more simplistic way?
Granted, things move forward. They have to move forward, as we cannot live our whole lives in a standstill never learning or never growing, but I wonder if we are rushing through moments of communicating that should be sacred, steady and cherished.
When we write a letter, we are in effect pouring out our souls to the people we write them to. Much like a journal, it is a way of preserving our thoughts and feelings at the time. A way of looking back on a memory and re-living it all over again in a calmer manner and at a time when we have just that, TIME to take in the words properly. To soak them into our hearts and understand them fully.
The time taken to write a letter filled my Aunt with love that day. Perhaps, more so then when I write her a quick “how you doing?” on messanger, before flying out the door for work. It takes 2 minutes to type a quick message and we often find ourselves only speaking on a superficial level. Our level of writing is simplistic and has no depth. It is like Wordsworth said: “Fill your paper with the breathing of your heart”. That letter somewhat breathed love into the heart of someone I love and allowed me to breathe life into the words I wrote as they were coming from a place of solitude and I took the time to gather my thoughts and not rush the words or meanings I was trying to convey.
Image sourced from pinterest
For me letter writing of any kind is like writing a love letter to a long lost love that you wish to convey your hearts desire with. It doesn’t mean it has to be a romanticised love. But in just forming your thoughts and the swelling of love you feel in your heart – I must feel something or I wouldn’t bother to write – you find a way to form a deeper message of love for that person that goes way beyond any “like button” or re-tweet that take all of 5 seconds to show and in which anyone complete stranger or acquaintances can achieve. In writing a letter we tell the person receiving it, you are not alone. I am really thinking of you and you are not an after thought.
Image sourced form pinterest
With letter writing sets now being sold in an array of quirky styles and designs (see a couple of mine below), there is an endless world of possibilities. The trick is to make it fun. It helps if you have a “thing” for stationary-I’m always investing in new equipment. (I’ll do a stationary haul post soon). The funnier the card or luxurious the set, not only makes it exciting to write but also fun for the recipient or your letter. I know if lifts my happiness level when I get something other than bills coming through the door.
We sometimes need to stop and appreciate the joy in the simple things in life. Re-discover a lost art form, re-vamp it and make it new. So, join me if you wish. Forget typing a quick-fire email today, pick up a pen and some nice paper and revel in the lost art of writing letters.