In the days of email, text, and Facebook messaging, letter writing seems like an outdated tradition. But there is really nothing like opening a sealed envelope that reveals a hand-written letter from a friend. The message is clear when someone sends a letter—they care. They took the time, not just to click on your name, but to put the pen to paper, to carefully fold it and slide it into an envelope, to look up and copy your address, even to pay for the stamp. Letters transcend the trend towards convenience that has taken over our lives. It is not the simplest way to correspond, or the fastest, but maybe that’s what makes it so special.
Sadly, letter writing, in today’s world, seems to be becoming a lost art. The Unites States Postal Service is trying to remind us just why it is so important, making April National Letter Writing Month. The USPS is producing special stamps, stickers, and guides for students and educators, “It’s a Delight to Write” which will be distributed to 80,000 teachers and 7.3 million parents throughout the nation, according to its website. This is a massive campaign by the USPS, certainly in part to provide job security. But it goes way beyond that.
According to the USPS statement, “Letter writing improves social and penmanship skills. More importantly, it helps create lasting memories with the people you care about most…After all, nothing else cultivates a romance, nurtures a friendship, or helps you stay connected like a hand-written card or letter.”
It’s amazing when you think about it that the price of a stamp and a little of your time, can make someone’s day. It can bridge the long distance between two people, provide comfort to someone who is hurting, and bring giggles to someone in desperate need of a smile. In short, those ten minutes you spend writing a letter might just change someone’s day, or even their life.
So instead of sending your loved one a Facebook message, why not sit down at your table. Pick out a nice piece of stationery, your favorite pen, and write. There is something about putting pen to paper that encourages each of us to share a little bit of ourselves with the recipient. Imagine the smile on their face as they sort through their junk mail and bills, and see it: a letter, a REAL letter from you. Imagine them slowly opening the envelope, and reading your sentiments and the smile that fills their face. You see, they can’t help but know that you care when you take the time to write. That’s the magic of letter writing; it’s a tangible act of love that the recipient can hold in their heart, and their hands, forever.