Sunday, May 16, 2010

Letters in the Mail

Dear (fill in your name here),

I love letters in the mail.

I am finding that it is a bit countercultural to participate in this much anymore. Why send a letter when you can e-mail? Or better yet-- reach the person you want to communicate with in a matter of seconds with a text message.

Trust me; I'm not above e-mailing and texting. I do both quite often. I mean, I'm blogging about this, for heaven's sake. Obviously I embrace technology.

But there's a large part of me that still loves the timelessness of letters. The thoughtful, ink-to-paper, stamped envelope method.

It's interesting, though, because mail takes time. More time than a lot of people want to wait. If you have something to share, your proclamation won't arrive to the recipient until, at quickest, the next day. And then the recipient has to open the letter, read it, and write their own letter in return. Back into the mail it goes. The process takes days; an e-mail takes minutes; a text, seconds.

Technology. I love it, but in a way, it's slowly killing anything personal and timeless about our society.

I mean, I'm sure I'll have my grandkids gathered around me someday, and I'll be telling them about the days of "e-mailing" and "text-messaging," and they will look up at me, wide-eyed with wonder, asking me questions about how that all worked. It will seem so old-fashioned, what we're doing now. And that's ok. That's inevitable. I guess part of me just wants to hold onto the current "old way" while we still use it.

Because let's face it- an e-mail is nice, it really is. But how personal can it be? There's something so much more thoughtful about a person's handwriting on a piece of paper. It takes time to sit down and write it. And I can't believe I'm saying this, because I'm a typeaholic, but I do find that my most genuine, heartfelt words come when I write them down on paper rather than type them out on the computer. My brain thinks super-fast, and while my fingers can type out and keep up with the pace of my brain, my hands cannot write that fast. Therefore, a filter is there by default. And only the very best gets recorded.

I used to write letters to my really good friend and first cousin. We lived in the same town, but we wrote each other about once a week. This took place all through Jr. High and High School. We both loved it. Thankfully, we were both creative minds that loved to dream, and so our notes and letters included personal updates, clever stories, witty poems, and anything else we could imagine. I loved those exchanges, and I still have every letter she sent me.

This past year, an opportunity came up for me to use my passion of letter-writing in a God-glorifying way. Our church adopted a program that another one of our nearby churches was doing, called "Pen Pals for Jesus." If you decided to participate, you would get matched with a prisoner to write to as a pen pal.

I was so excited to hear about this program being initiated and I immediately joined. I received one pen pal, and then a month later received another. I am currently writing two women in prison. It is an amazing experience, and I am so glad I can be a part of their lives, even if it's in a very small way. I can't imagine the loneliness faced in prison, and a lot of the inmates there need spiritual guidance and discipleship. In the form of letter-writing, this is a way that God's Truth can go forth and His love can be shown.

Anyway. That's my soap box on letters. And just for the record, now you know how to make my day- just send me a letter in the mail.

It will be cherished long after an e-mail or a text message.

Love you all...



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