The glut of blog content gave me a moment of panic so I went to check the mail. Nothing. Our mail has been pretty lousy lately anyway so nothing is better than trash, I suppose.
Problem is, I love mail. Love it. Love paper, love stationery, love pretty penmanship and artistically made cards. Admittedly, I need to send more mail - a lot more in fact. I have a list of thank you notes and letters to be written, but, (looking to my left) all of my beautiful stationery is currently living in a pile awaiting a new desk and office. I feel rather sad for it there - a pile of checks, cords, a few papers to be filed, tape, etc on top of it all.
Somewhere in that pile are at least 2 letters that are very important to me:
My very first letter ever - from my grandfather, written on hotel stationery while he was on one of his many, many business trips abroad. It reads, simply: I love you. The "I" is a a drawn eye, the "love" a heart, and the "you" the letter "u". It was my very first letter, sent just to me, and I could read it all by myself! What joy!
A very few of our letters and strange accompaniments
The second is the first letter from my now husband. Within a few days after we met I went to Ireland for over a month. While I was there we started writing letters to one another. When I returned to the U.S. we were on opposite coasts and continued writing to one another (in addition to phone calls, emails, visits). Within six months we had both moved to an entirely new place together and began the life we now share (another story entirely - let's just say it contains very little money all in cash in a liquor tin, no jobs and no place to live). Those letters were fundamental for some of the strongest parts of our relationship - they contain the things you forget to say on a phone call, the things you only think about when alone, and the keys to understanding one another that simple conversation can't convey. If it weren't for those letters I wouldn't know that Em needs time alone, near water preferably, to clear his head and that talking it out isn't always the solution. If it weren't for those letters he might not understand why I react to some things the way I do, or that I have a complete, encyclopedic knowledge of where to procure the best chocolate at many a world-wide location.
Perhaps you think writing a letter, as opposed to an email, is thrifty, better for the environment, more logical, expeditious - and, in certain contexts you would be right. While it is tempting, in our fast-paced world, to check items off our list and isolate all our to-do's into time spent in front of our computers it is not more meaningful to do so. I encourage you to consider someone you own some gratitude or love this week. Write them an email, save it as a draft. Then sit down, and in nearly the same amount of time, write them a letter or card, any kind of note. Go to bed. In the morning consider which you would rather receive and send it - my guess is you'll pick the letter. The written word, expressed through a simple note, makes emotions tangible. You can tuck a letter in your pocket, under your pillow, into a box of meaningful things and come back to it time and time again.
I know I do. Time, and time, and time again.
Which is why I can't wait for my new office to be done – so that I can tack up on my wall a simple note, written by a jet-lagged man in another country, and a long eloquent letter from the man who became my husband. Both the same words, each embedded in my heart: "I love you".
But go ahead, try saying that in an email.