I received three unexpected pieces of snail mail from friends over the last few weeks, each of which made my day. I had forgotten the joy that mail used to bring before email and social media made it nearly obsolete. I don’t want to forget again.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for social media. It’s allowed me to reconnect with friends who’d slipped away, and to stay connected to others thousands of miles or oceans away. I am sure most of these dear people would have stayed part of my past before today’s technology. Instead, they remain in my life, even if in only in small snippets. Many of them still make me smile just by being them, exactly why they were part of my life in the first place.
In spite of the positives, we gave something up when we moved away from letters. A Facebook post is like a piece of hard candy…short and sweet…while a good letter is far more substantial. It proves that someone thought enough of you to take the still short but meaningful five or ten minutes to dig out pen, paper, and envelope, and sit down to compose their thoughts. Lately, I’m increasingly nostalgic and grateful for the holes, large and small, filled by so many people in my life. They are worth so much more to me than the 49 cents and ten minutes a letter would take. I believe I will start taking that ten minutes a month to begin thanking them, one at a time. It will take the rest of my life; I have a large debt to repay.
“Without ’tis autumn, the wind beats on the pane,
With heavy drops, the leaves high upwards sweep.
You take old letters from a crumpled heap,
And in one hour have lived your life again.” –Mihai Eminescu