Over the years, I have been pleasantly surprised, on occasion, to stumble upon an endorsement or encouragement of postal letter writing in a place I wasn’t expecting to find it. I have another blog about Christianity, and I follow a Christian professor (Dr. Douglas Groothuis) who specializes in apologetics and philosophy. One of his recent posts got my attention: 10 Ways to Write a Meaningful Card. After sharing these 10 ideas, he ends the post this way:
“Consider joining me in my effort to re-humanize the world through the simple, but soulful, act of writing cards and letters.”
I liked #4 “I usually write when I have time to reflect on what I should write. I don’t usually dash them off. Too much is already dashed off in our hurry sickened world.”
– I recently wrote about this very thing here on my blog: Are you writing a friend, or only writing a letter?
However, the “10 ways” post is not about the postal pen pal hobby, but rather about writing notes to various other people in your life. I don’t do this as much anymore, and most of my note/letter writing is to my pen friends. Somewhere along the line I got away from writing notes to those who are not my pen friends.
Several things come into play. Years ago, even people who weren’t pen pals or letter writers would still send the occasional note or letter – long distance phone calls were expensive. Remember worrying about the cost per minute for a call?! And then social media took over, and so many now keep connected by these means – they “send” a birthday, get well, or thinking of you wish by facebook or text – rather than by post.
This affected me too. I continued to write my pen pals, but why send a card to others (besides pen pals) when you can see via facebook that they are alive and well? And I also missed the reciprocity. Years ago, you could count on getting the occasional postal note or card from others. But that tapered off – I’d send notes but rarely get any in return. Therefore, most of my writing became almost exclusively with my pen pals – where there was reciprocity.
But I should try to send more notes and cards to others. I do send some, but not near as many as years ago. As Dr. Groothuis further says in his post:
“Writing cards is a way to re-humanize a de-humanized culture. Too much is too automatic and impersonal. When you pen (and I mean pen) a card, it bears the mark of you—your handwriting, your choice of ink and pen. A human, you, emerges…”
In this New Year, I will try to increase the number of notes I send to those who are not my pen friends. Perhaps you too??