Raise the Flag

I got a letter from a friend today. It was a real letter on real stationery. Written in cursive on both sides of the paper. Written by her own hand, from her own heart. Sent through the mail.

She’s a busy woman. Single mom with two kids. A stressful, full-time job. An aging parent that she cares for. Oh, and a dog. Where did she find the time to sit down and write me a letter?

This letter that she sent me is one that I will read over and over again, because of how encouraging its message is. It’s not a quickly written, half-thought-out message with “u” instead of “you” or “bc” instead of “because.” Where did she find the time to think about what she would say to me in that letter? How did she make moments in her day to ponder how the words should sound?

One of her secrets is that she doesn’t really use this thing we call “social media.” She will send or respond to a text (though I have forbidden her from using those new iPhone emojis that quote my message back to me with a “Liked” in front of it). But don’t send her something on Facebook because it will be months before she will ever see it.

Have you ever wondered…

…in this day of social media- Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and the notorious group text- why must we always have an audience for the written conversations we have with one another?

When I got the mail yesterday and saw that my friend had sent me a letter, I did the same thing I used to do, back when we sent mail to each other all the time- I took it, un-opened, to my office, sat down at my desk. Then, when I was all alone, I opened the letter and read it. It was a quiet moment between my friend and me. No one reading over my shoulder, no likes, loves, or ha-ha’s, and no comments.

I am an advocate for Real Mail. Letter-writing is a social grace that would serve us well to resurrect. How many of us have family histories that are preserved through the letters written between our ancestors?

There’s a box in our house that has family letters like that- some are over 100 years old now. The pages are well-worn, the writing is faded. But the stories that make up our history are there.

Letters touch us. They connect us to each other so much more so than a plastic screen. And, oh, how we need that connection.

So, raise the flag on your mailbox. Send a card. Send a letter. Send a blessing. And you just may get one back!

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