It arrived in my mailbox without fanfare, and even if it was written in a foreign language, upside-down and reversed, I would have known my sister's handwriting.
That's why I love handwritten anything. Isn't handwriting an extension of our thumbprint? As unique and distinguishable as our personalities, our faces, our DNA? We know our people by the way they write and I love that.
I love it.
Is it odd that I have this great affection for the way my people write? That I recognize them by the way they cross T's and dot I's and refuse to swirl a cursive Q the way we were taught in grade school?
What a peculiar quirk…to c a r e about and delight in my family and friend's handwriting.
I think it must've been born the year Mama died. She was the one who always signed my report cards to let my teacher know she knew how I was doing, and the last time she did was second quarter of third grade. After that, Daddy took over. I don't have anything else handwritten by my mother, so my 1st-3rd grade report cards are treasures.
I know she held them in her hands, studied my good marks, considered where I needed some help, and signed them proud of me. Maybe it's a stretch, but I see those report cards as a baton she's passed off to me–our fingers almost touch, only separated by time. I'm able to hold what she beheld.
And that hidden letter I found from my father. Every time I read it, I can see him, hear him, almost feel him. His handwriting speaks and its sweet embrace and I can't help but hold onto it for a little while longer than it takes to read.
Gosh, all those notes passed in class among friends–I KNOW my friends' handwriting after decades have gone by! Kimberly, Mandy, Lee, Suzanne, Cassie–it's a mental slide show as I think each name, and once I start thinkin' two dozen more click by in a snap–and I'd list them all but that would make for reading as tedieous as Old Testament geneologies. I'll spare you because this isn't even what I planned to write about when I started!
(Except it makes me sad for kids today because cell phones have likely eliminated this practice–remember the way we'd fold notes so they were self-sealing???)
Good gracious, sometimes my heart hijacks my brain and kidnaps my fingers for its own purposes.
What I meant to write about was receiving that note from my sister.
It was short, maybe three lines, and folded into thirds to fit the 3"x5" envelope was the Mutts comic strip pictured above.
It had made her think of me when she saw it.
So she took three minutes to cut it out and jot a note to tell me.
Not a text.
Not an email.
Not a Facebook status or tweet.
Not a blog post (oh, the irony…).
Just a handwritten note, from her hands to mine, a tangible expression of thought.
It cost her three minutes of time and the price of a stamp, but the value is immeasurable. The gesture made my day.
Today, I shall pay it forward. Today, I will mail a few snails.
A little thing that means so much.
Won't you join me?
I love, love, LOVE snail mail and when I send it I get a lil’ grin on my face imagining the smile that will appear on the recipients face when they open it. I have a small group of girls that I have the privilege of mentoring and this is something we do. Snail mail each other and secretly share snail mail encouragement with those in our midst. (Kind of like “The World Needs More Love Letters”.) It’s amazing to see the responses and all for the cost of a stamp and a tiny bit of time! I have been blessed to receive these treasures regularly in the mail. A year or two before my husband died, two of the girls in our youth ministry decided to weekly love and encourage my husband with snail mail. He was blessed beyond measure and kept them all as treasures. I remember the day he went and bought a box of stationary and began sending encouraging notes back to them as well to others. It’s a precious chain reaction. It’s seven months since my husband went to be with Jesus, and I smile as I read through the notes those sweet sisters sent and the joy it brought him! I too am having my heart “hijacked” as I type; enjoying the sweet memories of those who have blessed me with their handwritten treasures! Thanks for sharing! ~
I have been a closet mail-aholic since I was 7 years old and discovered that if I filled out all of the pull-out postcards in my Dad’s magazines and mailed them, I would get amazing things back in the mail addressed to me. Although at the time, car magazines, investments, and life insurance didn’t interest me. I was thrilled to just get mail.
I decided a week ago to try and write [handwrite] one thank you card a day for the entire year. Today when I get home from church, I will have three ready to mail.
I love this and I love Jen’s comment above. When I was a kid getting mail was the most exciting thing ever! I still get excited when something comes that isn’t a bill.
This weekend I had the pleasure of going to Baylor’s concert dance program, Verve’. Since I’ve been back in Chattanooga I’ve made a point to attend the annual concert. This concert was special because one of the dancers I am taking classes with at Civic Ballet was in the show. I have long lost my dancer’s body, and I think the value I add to the studio is as a mentor rather than a performer. When I left the dance concert yesterday, I thought about sending the young dancer from Civic a note on facebook telling her what a wonderful job she did. Then I stopped, and thought it would be better to give her a card this week. Something she could hold on to. Something positive that she can tape to her mirror. Something that she can look back on later. And yes, something in my horrible handwriting!
So true…to know that someone actually took the time to sit and write something for you is special!
Oh.. I know how you feel about those report cards.. When my mom passed away about.. 6 years ago.. going through her stuff and cleaning out her apartment was the WORST!
She didn’t write.. often.. ever really. There was this ONE card.. ONE card that she wrote to me in her handwriting. It is a treasure. I have journals and journals and compiled writing pieces that I make a commitment to write in because we both know when we leave this world.. our written word is what we leave behind.
My boss’s father passed away a little more than a week ago. I love her so much and have met her beautiful family on a handful of occasions. I was blessed to attend the funeral and pay my respects and give her a great big hug and let her know we’ll show up anywhere, anytime for her. I found a picture of her parents on their 60th anniversary. They celebrated at the church they got married in; I made a card with the picture in front and HANDWROTE a PENSIEVE.
This is probably completely wrong the way I did it, but I’ll share with you anyways..
The Sights: People who loved him all surround, hands on their hearts. It’s so bright today, tears amongst baby smiles, beautiful roses, vision blurred
The Sounds: Taps playing in the distance, hustling leaves against the anxious wind, murmurs of wishes and tender thoughts.
The Aroma: “the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God”
The Tastes: Reverence, holy santification. I hear a friend say during the eulogy, “Oh, I want a love like that..how wonderful it would be to be loved like that..” A humble prayer for her, a glorious appearing
The Feel: Tightened heartstrings, words don’t come, choking on grief and sadness, hold her tight and ask the Lord for peace and comfort… and I feel helpless in this weary world to offer her anything but a hug and so much love that I can hardly keep it in.
Robin, thank you for reminding me how powerful handwritten notes can be!
What a gorgeous practice. I hadn’t thought about the return on this investment, but you’ve painted a lovely picture of that very thing. Thank you for sharing your personal account. 🙂
Now THAT is a wonderful New Year’s thingie. Can you imagine the encouragement 365 letters would mean???
Beth, I actually laughed out loud because I’m the same way. And isn’t it the truth that you don’t have to write a dissertation?? I’m just as touched by a well-written card and a handwritten line or two. 🙂
I LOVE that you stopped yourself and plan to do this with such great intention! Who wants to print out an email and tape it on a mirror? Sometimes I get aggrevated that nice cards are so expensive, but then when you look at it the other way, they’re a treasure, a gift of LOVE.
For YOU, it could be printing out one of your amazing photographs and sending it with a “thinking of you” note. THAT would be a treasure to me!
Oh. My. Word.
YOU WROTE A PENSIEVE! DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT YOUR GIFT TO THEM IS A GIFT TO *ME*???????? Holy cow. What was intended to bless your bereaved boss’s family has blessed me as well…and I don’t even know them!
What a precious, precious thing to do for them. I feel so honored in all of this. THANK YOU for telling me!! xo
You’re welcome :).
I’m thrilled.. THRILLED you liked it.
so true! i am the only one other than my mother to send hand written thank you notes and ‘just because’ cards. it only takes a sec and, what, 43 cents and it makes a world of difference to someone you care about. heck with texting and emailing, i love snail mail.