One of my favorite things to do is to write “surprise” cards for friends and family members and send them in the mail – nope, not the email – the USPS mail. Like, you know, walking out to the mailbox, using those dated things called ‘stamps,’ and putting the card into a little slot to be picked up by a mailman, delivered to a sorting center, picked up by another mailman to be taken to the place directed on the envelope (yup, the envelope that contains that surprise card that you wrote with a pen [what’s that again?]), which will then be put in a carrier and delivered to the destination by another mailman. Old fashioned? You bet! Worth it? Absolutely!
I think we’ve all noticed that there has been a sad detachment from the handwritten card – we’ve put such efforts on the list of “medieval” practices – something people did in the “olden days” because they didn’t have the modern time-saving convenience of email and texting. Let’s face it – we are super busy people! It is the curse of the 20th-21st centuries. So of course sending a quick email or a breezy text sounds so much easier than sitting down at a desk or table and practicing that penmanship you learned in 1st grade! (And most of us are so out of practice, our handwriting looks so sloppy anyway! I mean, have you seen any ‘antiquated’ letters? The penmanship is beautiful! Effortless! Like one of those curlicue fonts on the computer that all of us dream of being able to write but couldn’t in a thousand years? Yeah. Pretty incredible. My grandfather is a stellar ‘curlicue’ writer.)
But there is a value in the handwritten card that a surprising number of us are rediscovering. And given the busyness of modern society, oddly enough, the hand-written letter has become even more meaningful than it was 70 years ago. Writing a letter – a thoughtful one – takes time, and because time is in short-supply for us 21st century people, the sacrifice of that time is worth so much more. As I teach in my Hospitality class, “Parties with Pizzaz,” which will be offered again soon, (check it out here), sacrificing our time is part of that wonderful (and slightly neglected) virtue of generosity. Being generous with our time, our moments, and our sentiments, is part of living the beautiful, meaningful life. Why? Because TIME is one of the most valuable gifts to give.
Taking the time to create something beautiful and give it to someone else, is what makes life worth living. Whether that is a "creation" of words, food, gifts, hugs, smiles, notes; it all is equally important, and it all makes a difference.
Loving people through the form of the handwritten card is so beautiful, because it shows people that you care so much that no matter how hectic your life is, you have time for them from afar.
If I may be so bold, I challenge you to “live beautiful,” and write someone a note this month. It’s hard, I know! Even I can barely spare a second for it! But I guarantee you, it is worth it. So pick up that pen and write something – it can be brief – the value is not in the amount of words, but in the love behind them. (And if you want tips on how to make letter writing quick and easy, see my blog post here!) Good luck!