Putting Pen to Paper

I love getting mail. I love it when I’m shuffling through all the junk mail and flyers and happen upon a real letter with a real stamp and a hand-written letter folded perfectly inside. I love the way the paper feels and the way the ink looks pressed into the paper by the hand of someone I love. I love all the unique stamps that carry a letter from its home to mine. I love the way the feathery postmark looks and the story it tells of a letter’s journey–forever stamping a record of the place from which a letter came and the date and time it was sent. I hold onto letters and cards–they’re bursting out of boxes and drawers and notebooks all throughout my house–each one a reminder of someone I love and the time they took to sit and write me a real letter–not an e-mail or a text, but a real pen to paper treasure.

I have a few friends that write fabulous letters and cards; they probably have no idea how much I enjoy their notes or how I keep each one like a treasure. My friend Ashley is a letter writing goddess–six pages front and back filled with hilarious stories and words of love and encouragement that echo in my heart long after the letter is read and tucked away. My friend Sarah is the same way–her letters aren’t long, usually just a card, but she sends them for no reason and there is never a card better than a card received for no reason. To think that someone thought of you, bought a card, jotted a note, and sent a paper bundle of happiness for no reason! I love the way each person’s unique characteristics show up in the words they write–from my best friend Rachel’s big boxy letters written all in caps to my mother’s beautiful script, each letter carries the authors very movement and personality in their handwriting.

Some of my most cherished letters are the ones from my brother Brad when he was serving in the military overseas. I have five brothers and sometimes feel very disconnected from them as the only girl in the family. There’s a bond that brothers share that I just can’t have with them and I have no sisters to share such a bond with either. But corresponding with my brother helped me know him better and each word he penned is very special to me still. It’s a memory of a time when both are lives were rapidly changing from childhood to adulthood and I’m glad for the record of those times and the words, however simple and trite, that were passed across the world in pen and paper. I also treasure the many, many notes my husband has written me over the years–from a few words scribbled on wrappers and scraps of paper to long letters and cartoons–each word charts our story from our long-distance dating relationship to the young married couple we are now; of all the things my husband has given me over the years, there is nothing I treasure more than his words.

I hope to be better about writing letters of my own. The next time I go to write a text or e-mail, I hope I’ll remember to stop and jot the words on paper instead–to take the time to let that person know that I’m really thinking of them and they are worth the extra time it takes to actually put pen to paper.

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