Yesterday I came home and there was a real paper letter waiting for me on the kitchen counter. My name and address was handwritten with a sharpie marker next to three big stamps from China.
I’ll admit that it felt something like Christmas morning when I was eight.
The curiosity about its’ origins and what news it might contain raced through my mind as I said to my wife, “Hey a letter for me!”. She smiled and said, “Open it silly.”. I ripped open the end with my bare hands (we don’t get enough mail to own a real letter opener) like a bear tearing into a can of tuna.
I pulled out a single white page covered in neat straight rows of handwritten letters. My heart felt a little lighter as my eyes scanned the words. It was a letter from my friend Aaron. He was writing for no particular reason at all. He just wanted to say hello “in person”.
As I re-read my friend’s letter again this morning, I realized how much I like getting mail. I also realized how significantly different a real letter is from an email or Facebook message.
There is something about a real, handwritten letter that communicates far more than the words themselves convey. Maybe it’s the realization that someone took the time to think of me; had the courage to write with an actual pen whose words cannot be deleted; knew my address; and made the effort to hand carry the message to a post box.
Whatever it is, I really like getting a real letter in the mail. I felt joy and connection to a person thousands of miles away. In any case, my friend’s letter has inspired me.
I think I’ll go write a letter.