Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Snail Mail

Email is a great invention. It draws people together who are distant from one another and it enables quick connections. I have been in touch with old friends by email, whom I would have not seen for a long time, for sure. But yesterday, I received a letter and my heart experienced a little thrill to see a stamped envelope.

My Aunt Lorraine has always been a letter writer. I have opened many special notes from her for as long as I can remember and now she sends little special things to my children. She is one of those kinds of people who is always leaving her mark wherever she goes. Yesterday, I wrote of Givers and she is one of them. Whether it's her baking or a note or an act of service, Aunt Lorraine loves to give. So when I ripped open the envelope bearing my name, I smiled when I found a long letter with a copy of my late Grandma's recipe for peanut butter squares.

They call it snail mail because it takes longer than a few seconds to get to you but don't good things come to those who wait? When the "tyranny of the urgent" seems to rule our lives, it's refreshing to sit with a cup of tea and peruse some writing about gardening and the grandchildren and the "weather up here". Email cannot replace the pretty paper, the fragrance of the Giver, the hand-written scribing, and the tangible offerings inside.

In a day where short-hand and slang is prevalent among kids who use electronic messaging, I feel even stronger about preserving the art of writing. I am concerned that we are raising a generation of children who will be poor writers and spellers. Have you ever misunderstood some one's sarcasm or meaning in an email? In my opinion, people express themselves better on paper because it takes more effort. While technology is wonderful in many ways, I love that my children see traditions that will maintain their sense of true connectedness with family and friends, ones that involve personal visits and real conversations laden with emotion. Real letters seem to accomplish this far greater than email does.

1 comment:

Holly said...

Heather - I LOVE this one. Naturally, I would agree whole heartedly. I was actually writing in my journal today, remembering how it was YOU who got me started. I will be forever grateful that you have clung to the written word (even if it's only one's own words) and passed it on to me. Letters, journals ... same story, different destinations.