Monday, April 21, 2014

Letter Writing

A Return to Letter Writing

Have you ever been a letter writer? Some of you will remember what I am talking about in a life before keyboards and faster than finishing a sentence contact.
I remember. Corresponding through regular mail with paper and pens, envelopes and occasional stickers and other “slip ins” used to be a very active part of my life. I spent time every Monday through Saturday (with few exceptions) immersed in some activity related to note or letter writing. I had a make shift desk of some sort every place we moved and having places for stamps and other mailing and writing supplies was the main set up priority. I would write notes, poems, letters and “jots” down all through the day and night, knowing I would tuck them into delivery parcels for dear friends and loved ones.

I wrote or typed on a regular type writer … letters filled with what I was doing, feeling or seeing around me. I wrote notes to encourage, Scriptures to edify, jokes to lift up and personal moments to help the receiver of whatever I was sending to experience a blessing. I spent hours in shops selling cards and stationery and made sure those in my address book (from next door to across the world) had something for special events and occasions, care cards when in need of something and much, much more.
The mail boxes were one of the first things I sought out when moving into new places and I memorized the mailman’s routines more quickly than the garbage routes! I loved tucking a stack of outgoing mail into the mailbox (after checking the addressing info and stamp placement) and my heart smiled when I saw them picked up and knew they were on their way. I remember trying to picture each person as they opened what I sent.

What about my own mail box? I watched that with more eagerness than some get when shopping and was more excited than some on Christmas when something came for me to open, read and see.
Writing became something of a ministry and I would have not even considered ever stopping.
When I first heard of emailing ... it was around 1991 - give or take a year... and I couldn't grasp it. My SIL thanked me for a hand written letter she got from me and apologized for being too busy to write back. She went on to say that if we both got email - we could write notes and letters and send immediately with no cost for postage. It would be 1994 or 1995 before I had my first aol email. Have you ever seen the movie, "You've Got Mail"? If so, I can tell you that you got a glimpse of me on the scenes where Meg Ryan flies to her computer (except I've never had a laptop ;) and can't wait to read, reply and write emails. It was one of the most amazing things I had ever seen. At first, I was finding everything I could to print for my regular mail corresponding. I designed and printed off my own stationery, learned to copy and paste things I could print, share, and so on. I figured out how to get clip art for just about everything, how to find images to match so many topics and then - how to take photos and use them in all sorts of mailing delights! I spent hours - far too many, I am thinking now - using the computer for my mail. I could type faster than I wrote by hand and I just couldn't get over how streamlined it could make my letter writing.
Eventually, I found myself getting busier and busier and doing more and more to save time. I'm not sure when it happened exactly ... but I stopped all regular mail and the only time I used my mailbox was to get bills and junk mail out.

That was many years ago and I have felt God guiding me back to sending things out by mail as a true ministry. I have gone back and forth trying to tell myself that it isn't God calling me but just a need for that familiar love. What I believe now is... whether it is God or my own voice (and I pray for Him to show me) ... the longing for it hasn't gone away but has instead grown stronger. God's glory can pour out through something like this and I am letting go and going with it.

I shared this with my sister several times when she was living in Florida and she was excited because she missed letter writing (she sent more out than I ever did!) and had decided herself, to return to the art. I started writing but haven't broken through my habit of never mailing anything but she and one of her daughters DID start back. They actually moved back here to Georgia and they have been sending out letters and receiving them. It spurred me on to break through and get back to it.

That is my letter writing story and I don't want to make this too long to read BUT I want to encourage any of you interested in getting back to letter writing or beginning for the first time.
I will share something I found just today and will close after that. I will write Part 2 of this soon and include some Pinterest boards, letter writing sites and so on. What I just found out today is that April isthe national letter writing month!


proverbs31heart said...

Oh, my! What a nerve you struck in me with this one, Sandy! IIIII could have written this exact post! And, yes! I sooooo want to get back to my letter-writing ministry! At one time I was regularly writing over one-hundred people per month. I've got boxes of letters sent to me by others and I cherish each one. Thanks so much for writing about the nearly lost art of letter-writing. You've got me excited now! God bless you, Sweet sister! Love and (((Hugs))) to you! <3

naturalmotherhood said...

A lovely comment from a beautiful sister in Christ! Thank you for sharing this with me, Rebecca ... I am so glad we have this in common and hope we give ourselves and others the gift of getting back to it. I heard over and over (when I sent things out) of how much this one or that one cherished their cards, notes, letters and so on just as you wrote here. Some told me that they still have things I sent them years ago. One lady kept a slip of paper I gave her with encouraging words in her Bible for all the years since I gave it to her! Love and hugs right back to you this great day ;)