How many personal letters have you received this year?
Not Christmas letters, birthday cards, personalized fundraising mail, Facebook messages, or emails. I’m talking about an honest-to-goodness, preferably hand-written, physical note, arriving courtesy of your very own U.S. Mail carrier.
In this age of almost instantaneous communication, the tradition of actual letter writing seems to be dying. I confess that I don’t write many personal notes, either, even as much I enjoy receiving them. In fact, I typically forget about my friends’ birthdays until Facebook reminds me the day of. So I am thankful for the ability to send a birthday greeting via Facebook or an e-card.
However, I’ve noticed that “mail call” is almost universally looked forward to. Every day, shortly after the mail carrier’s truck passes down my street, various neighbors (those at home during the day) go to their mailboxes. Sometimes, that becomes an opportunity to visit for a few minutes–sort of an at-home version of the workplace water-cooler gathering.
This eagerness to check the mail–yes, I have it some days, as well–seems to indicate a craving for personal connection. Facebook has allowed us to connect with old friends and stay in touch with others who live across the country or around the world. But we still long for a personal touch, don’t we?
Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body (Proverbs 16:24, ESV).
Shouldn’t we make an effort to brighten someone’s day by writing and mailing real notes occasionally? They don’t have to be long. One I received a couple of weeks ago was only two paragraphs but included a newspaper clipping my friend thought I would appreciate. And I did.
Author Richard Foster said, “How do we respond to God at work among us? Maybe we respond to the Divine Whisper to write a letter…and the results of our simple obedience are nothing short of startling.”
As I have pondered this fascination with mail–and the disappointment of walking to the mailbox to find only bills and junk mail–I’ve determined to do better. My new goal is to write a personal letter or card to someone at least twice a month. Can I stick to it? I don’t know, but keep checking your mailbox. Maybe one of them will be written to you.
Will you take the same challenge? Who is God whispering to you about today?