For me, there is almost nothing more satisfying than sealing and stamping an envelope. Equally, I love the anticipation that comes with checking the letterbox, ripping open a letter and reading it two, or three times over because it’s just so nice.
I’m a serial card collector – no, seriously. Somewhere in my wardrobe is a little picnic basket that’s full of just about every card given to me by special friends and family. Birthdays, Christmases, letters, secret behind-the-teachers’-backs notes ripped out of school books and diaries… you name it. It means the world that someone would make time in their life to dedicate a few little words to me. The above photo is of a letter & package I received from a beautiful friend during some exams a while ago. Doesn’t this kind of thing make you feel special? Valued? Loved?
When I was younger, I had a pen pal. I wrote to her about my dog, my swimming pool, what kinds of craft I was in to at the time. It wasn’t particularly deep stuff, but every time I sent her a letter, I awaited her reply with great anticipation. Her letters are still pasted into the pages of my journals (and no doubt, some of them are in my ‘card collection’). Having not seen or communicated with her in years, we recently saw each other at a party. It was lovely to hear that she had kept some of my letters as well, and talk about how special it was to have that hand written communication. Penmanship is a wonderful thing.
These days, I worry that the art of the handwritten is slowly fading away as we go digital. Don’t get me wrong – I treasure every personalised email, Facebook conversation and text message – but nothing is as satisfying or exciting as getting a letter. Nothing speaks as deeply as ink or feels as nice as paper between your fingers. I cling to the art of letters, because it’s too beautiful and touching to let go of.
You don’t need an excuse to write someone a letter. Some of the best and most meaningful letters are the ones that are written for no reason at all. The note left under the windscreen wiper on the car, written on a torn piece of a McDonalds brown paper bag (guilty), or a half-page letter in the letterbox of a stressed out friend makes such a difference. If letter writing isn’t a natural habit for you, but you’d like to give it a go, here are some ways I do ‘letters’.
The Surprise Letter
Sometimes, people make a little difference in your life. Maybe it’s after an event, or a conversation, or maybe it’s something they’re going through. Either way, I like to write a little note (handmade cards are sort of special too!) and keep it in my handbag until I see them or pass by their house. I remember after a mission trip last year, an amazing woman wrote me a little card to encourage me. It was such an unexpected and beautiful gesture – rest assured that little things do make a difference.
Letters to ‘The Guy’
I wasn’t sure whether to share this one, but most of my close friends and family know that I do this, so I figure that it’s not a big secret! When I was 14, I started writing little notes and letters to my future husband. With no idea who God had planned for me to marry, I started praying for him, for his journey with God and his life choices, and writing these points in letters. Sometimes I wrote to him about my life, and little details that I thought he might find interesting. I wrote on every birthday, every big trip or milestone – I guess I wanted him to someday feel as if he’s been involved in my life as I’ve grown up, and ensure him that I’ve been anticipating the day I marry him for a long time. I have over 20 letters now, all tied up and hidden away. If you have no one to write to, or you don’t feel confident doing so, this is a beautiful way to bless someone with notes from your heart in the future.
The Car Note
There’ve been a couple of times since I started driving, when I’ve found random notes on my car. Sometimes they’ve been anonymous, and sometimes I recognise the writing, or there’s a name. Since receiving a couple, I love returning the gesture. If I see a friend’s car parked near mine at the shops, I’ll leave a little piece of scrap paper (there’s enough of it in my car..!) with a short ‘have a great day’ or ‘love you’.
One of the strangest and nicest things I’ve received was a letter from a complete stranger. After accidentally parking quite inconsiderably across two potential spots a couple of christmases ago, I came back to a hand made christmas card on my front windscreen that kindly said, ‘Dear P Plater, in the future, can you please park here (diagram included), rather than here? It would really help us out! We hope you have a wonderful Christmas!’ I can’t think of a nicer way to treat someone who has inconvenienced you. I still have the card.
No matter how far I go on a holiday, I make a point of sending post cards. I’m not sure why – it’s a very inconvenient way of telling someone about your trip, what with the limited space – but there’s just something about them that makes me happy.
If you want a quick tutorial on how to make easy home made cards, click here for a blog post I wrote a few months ago.
Let me know your thoughts and experiences of letter writing!
— Lauren x