Saturday, June 8, 2013

On Letter Writing

Words are important.

Years ago I read the short but powerful book by Gary Chapman, The 5 Love Languages.  Chapman, a pastor, outlines the five ways we give and receive love – words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.  Most people have a preferred love language, and communication in their primary love language brings about harmony in relationships. 

On first thought, I had a hard time determining my primary love language.  I love to be loved with kind words, attention, gifts, service and hugs.  I was hard pressed to pick one love language as the most important.   But the big old green suitcase under my bed tells a different story.  The suitcase, affectionately called my “keep box,” is filled with letters and cards from my children, family, friends, and acquaintances.  There are stacks of handcrafted cards from my friend Teresa for every occasion. Mother’s Day cards from my boys, love letters from my husband, and get well cards from friends when my husband battled cancer fill the suitcase for the journey of a life well-lived.

Mostly the notes contain words of affirmation, encouraging words, kind words, humble words.  There are Bible verses, lunch box notes, pictures, and magazine or newspaper clippings tucked inside cards.  There are some sad notes, some apologies, and some missives I’ve written to myself.

my Keep Box

Greetings and notes today are mostly sent electronically via email or texting or social media.  And the mode of delivery in no way lessens the sentiment.  But still, there is nothing like the thrill of receiving a handwritten note or card in the mail.

My friend, Joni Ulman Lewis, artist extraordinaire and owner of Visual Treats, designs and sews unique cards using vintage photographs.  Joni sends cards. Her writing style is sincere and witty and she has a way of making you feel like a million bucks.  She is a champion for written communication. 

An email is an obligation.
A phone call is an interruption.
A card is a gift.
Why not send someone a handwritten note?
--Joni Ulman Lewis

Like Joni, I love to send cards.  I’ve been working on a design for my own personal stationery – a photo that tells the story of letter writing.  These are my hands scurrying across the page, writing with slants and curves and half-letters that are a challenge to read.  These are my papers and my favorite pen as I sit at my well-worn oak desk. These are the letters I write because words are important.

letter writing

Write a love letter.

You may someday find your letter tucked away in some place special. 

Your words mean more than you know.

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