Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Gift of A Letter

"An inspired letter can be as riveting as a stare. It can move us to tears, spur us to action, provoke us, uplift us, touch us. Transform us.  When written from the heart, letters are dreams on paper, wishes fullfilled,  desires statified. Letters can be powerful."
                          "Gift Of A Letter" by Alexandra Stoddard

As far back as I can remember, I anticipated the mailman.  Running to the mailbox when the flag on the box was lowered, I was eager to the possibility of recieving the gift of a letter.  Not much has changed, except maybe I don't run......the neighbors might wonder.....

For my entire childhood, I never lived in the same area as my maternal grandparents. But it felt as if I knew their life.  They scripted it for me in their letters.  I learned about the elderly neighbor lady who discovered she could paint.  What my grandparents enjoyed at the weekly jaunt to their favorite resturant.  The treasures they found at a garage sale. What the young preacher preached on a church.  I was even sent sermon notes. 

I still carry them in my Bible. 

I still trace with my finger the beautiful penmanship that my grandmother had. In time, Parkinson's disease stole it away and then she would dictate her cards and letters to my grandfather.  The beauty of old love.

The enjoyment found in writing and receiving letters runs deep. 

I have found the actual process of writing to be a natural form of autobiography.  As I articulate my thoughts to the person I am writing, my experience of actually living, is made more deliberate and with more acute awareness.  I become aware of what is currently happening in our family, struggles that I might be dealing with  and specific things that have recently inspired my life, such as a good book, recipe or conversation. I narrate my life.

As I think about the person I am writing, I am able to focus on how much they mean to me, to pray for them and thank God for their life intersecting with mine.  I am able to think about what life might be like for them and the think of questions I would like to ask.

Through the years, I have organized my top desk drawer with pretty liner, pens, stamps, stickers, address labels and collected a variety of paper and notecards.  By doing so, it is easier for my children and myself to set to the enjoyment of a thank you or letter.

It's been so enjoyable to be on the look-out for pretty envelopes, cards, stationary, colored pens, stamps and return address labels.

I recently got a letter from a new friend from Oregon.  We had participated in a seed swap.  When my daughter brought in the mail the other day (I think she runs....oh how I am proud), she handed me a padded envelope.  I was a bit giddy.

Later when I had a time of quiet and brewed a cup of tea, I opened the anticipated envelope.  Inside, I found a beautiful seed packet tied in raffia and an antique, painted button.  Also enclosed was a beautiful card and letter and a little coin purse my new friend had sewn!  What joy this small token of another brought that week.  A kindred spirit I have found.

How do we set aside time for letter writing?

"Letter writing used to be the principle form of communication prior to 1876 and the introduction of the now ubiquitous telephone at America's Centennial celebration.  Often letter writing was an art form.  In today's lightning-paced, nuclear obsessed society, we are virtually starved for the individual stamp of a personally handwritten letter.  We live longer than ever before.  So what is our maddening rush?  What makes us "too busy" to send the gift of a letter to someone we care about?  We all get caught up but to busy for what?" questions Alexandra Stoddard in A Gift of a Letter.

I have been deeply pondering those words.

For me, the quiet moments woven throughtout Sunday afternoons have been ideal for me to pen someone a letter.  In those hours, our home is quietly humming with children, pets and hubby.  A wonderful time for reflection.  A perfect recipe for letter writing. 

A personal letter can be a most intimate and touching of human experiences, one to another. 

A letter is a gift signature of you.

Spring Blessings!