What happened to letter writing? Sometimes I miss the art of pen to paper. I miss the days when my words flew. When I would sit in my room loving or hating boyfriends. When I had no clue what real life meant. When I would write in the raw. When I didn’t know what I’d write, but just mumble my way through it. Miss those days. Miss how real those feelings felt. On paper, you take time. On paper, words take time. The words, settle and they speak. You stay still. You think. You breathe. The words trickle and rain. They become real.
Then in no time at all, the world became take-out. About the same time we lost a craft. We lost the “it” feeling. Everything rushed. Everything texted, snap chatted, face-booked, linked in, instagrammed, tweeted.
Originally words to me did not consist of mere letters, but words were a thing. Words had a purpose. Words weren’t cut, hacked, silent, hash tagged, or spell checked. Words had beauty. Words could slither, sleek, or tantalize. Words always meant something to me.
When I felt lonely, words were always there. Words were my solace. I loved embracing words. It was what I knew I could do well. When I couldn’t hit a ball the farthest or be a math whiz, I could sit down and start throwing words on paper. The magic just happened.
Those who are not writers may wonder what this feels like. To me, whether this sounds crazy or not, writing is words dancing in my mind. Believe me, it’s an addiction almost like breathing. Take Emily Dickinson and Emily Bronte both famous poets, but also famous letter writers. A skillful art of passion. Where some may simply say I am in love with you – Emily Dickinson says: I’ve made a flying retreat to my own little chamber, where with affection, and you, I will spend this my precious hour, most precious of all the hours which dot my flying days, and the one so dear, that for it I barter everything, and as soon as it is gone, I am sighing for it again. Wow…breath-taking! With Emily’s words, you can feel her sigh and exhalation. You don’t guess she is in love. It is home-made ice cream and vintage purses. There is also Paul from the Bible who while in prison wrote letters to God. For instance, he wrote – “Pray… for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the Gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that I may speak boldly about it, as I should.” Where have you heard words like this lately? Who do you know in today’s world who writes words with such intensity? In contrast, in today’s world, people guess an email’s intent. They write two words and then a quick swish. It is a finger cross and a guess that people will understand what the sender is trying to say. Even worse, the words have no thoughtfulness, connection, or excitement. They are solely words.
To draw an even better image – let me tell you about a conversation I had with a friend of mine from New Zealand. He said, “why do you always say I love you at the end of a phone call with your husband?” I said – “it’s just what we do”. He said – “I don’t say it every time to my wife because otherwise “I love you” loses its meaning”. He had a point. I think this is the problem with the written word. We’ve made writing so stale or insignificant it loses its meaning. Again, dinner in a box.
Then you hear of people like Peyton Manning who may not be Emily Bronte, but he has not given up on the written word. It is music to a writer’s soul. To me, it says “you’re worth my time”. “I’m taking my time to let you know I care”. These words are all anyone really wants to hear. Money is an act of grace, time is an honor, but being appreciated and knowing you matter is a blessing. A beautiful example of being appreciated and the gift of words, is the story a woman told me while waiting for a shuttle. She told me her way of sharing God’s grace was going to a library and writing short little notes of love and gratitude and slipping them into books for people to find. She said sometimes she sees people smile when they find the notes. It’s my belief these unexpected notes share more joy than this woman even knows. If you think about it, what is more God-given and life-inspiring than to have someone tell you you’re special?
It is one of the reasons my prayers are in written and not spoken form. Although, it’s my belief God already knows what I’m going to say before I say it – writing gives me time to thank God and to pour out my heart’s love language. Writing my prayers allows me to look back on my thoughts and sentiments and sometimes it transports me to places such as my grandparent’s back yard or dancing in the rain. Writing brings back memories both good and bad and reminds me where I’ve been and where I am now. It reminds me where God has answered my prayers maybe not always to my liking, but he has answered my prayers.
So the next time you’re really wanting to share you, put it in writing. The next time you want to say I love you or you mean something to me, put it in writing. The next time you want to document history, put it in writing.The next time you want to give words meaning, put it in writing. Pen and paper. Let’s not allow the craft of words to become extinct like the dinosaurs or a lost language. Let’s revive this beautiful God-given gift to jump, splash, smile, and believe all on paper. Whether you are John, Sue, or Mary -You’ll realize your time, heart, and thoughts are all worth it.