Yes, I’ve got mail. I’ve got letters. I’ve got lots and lots of letters – letters that come in the mail every day, letters to answer, letters reaching out to new people encouraging friendship, letters all set to go just waiting for the postman to pick them up and carry them off to places far and near.
It’s funny, but whenever I tell people I’m a letter writer the first thing most of them say is, “Oh, letter writing. Nobody writes letters anymore.” Of course they’re wrong. Lots of people are still writing letters. They’re just not talking about them. I’m talking about them because letters and letter writing brings me joy and sharing doubles that joy.
There’s nothing like making a cup of something delicious (for me it’s a cup of dark roast coffee or Earl Grey tea) and getting all cozy with paper and pen. I’ve been told I must be an introvert for introverts receive energy from solitude, and letter writing is a solitude-type thing, but I must also be an extrovert for I enjoy people very much.. . so it’s no wonder that I love letter writing. In letter writing we have solitude and society simultaneously. We sit quietly relaxing in our house or in a pleasant coffee shop while at the same time we’re sharing with others.
But it’s not just the writing and sharing I love. I also love the art play involved in creating my own stationery. Some papers turn out pretty, while others are just playful. But all art play is fun. I’m not the only one enjoying art play either. Have you been to a bookstore lately to see all the many adult coloring books? Adults must really be enjoying coloring by the looks of all those books for sale and why not? Kids mustn’t have all the fun, but letter writers have a purpose for their art play. They can share their art as well as their words – a double sharing proposition.
Creating letter papers and writing letters are wonderful activities, but only half the fun. The other half of the fun comes when we go out to our mail box and find more than junk mail. Finding personal letters addressed just to us is wonderful fun! Heartfelt messages just for us.
The best of these letters share the personal life and the unique spirit of another. How often do you have chats through the day with people who reach deep into themselves to share the good, the bad, and that which is the essential essence of themselves? Well, most every day I have these sharing sessions because I’m blessed to have a great number of wonderful pen friends. You can have wonderful pen friends too. All you have to do is write letters for good things come back to those who share – good things in the form of more letters.
Today I got a letter from my penfriend A.J. who lives in Arizona. This dear man is hurting because he lost his wife two years ago but he still misses her terribly. He told me he thinks of her every day because she was a wonderful woman and a wonderful wife. A.J. truly was a lucky man to not only have a good companion, but also a wife who cooked delicious meals every day and took great care of their house. My heart goes out to him. A lot of people are hurting in this world, but sharing in letters , (and sharing in other ways too) not only doubles the joy, but also divides any sorrow. I care how A.J. feels. Wouldn’t you care too? I plan to write him soon and encourage him to tell me more about his wife. I’m sure he’d like that. It’s not just A.J.’s spirit that came through in his letter. I also got a sense of his wife’s spirit as he shared a list she kept on their fridge, and now I’m sharing that list with you. Here it is.
Ingredients for a Happy Life
Develop a spiritual outlook on life – Matt. 5: 3
Be content and avoid “the love of money” 1 Tim, 6: 6-10
Keep pleasures in their place 2 Tim,3: 1,4
Be generous and work for the happiness of others Acts 20: 35
Be thankful and count your blessings Col. 3: 15
Have a forgiving spirit Matt. 6: 14
Choose your associates wisely Prov. 13:20
Take care of your body and avoid bad habits 2 Cor.7: 1
Rejoice in the hope set out for you in the Bible Rom. 12: 12
This list is good advice for all of us and it gives me something good to think about today as I’m thinking about A.J. and his wife.
Thinking and caring about people is not a frivolous, unimportant thing and therefore letter writing is more than just a fun hobby. It’s an excellent way to reach out to others in love. Our letters can make a big difference in someone’s life if we’re thoughtful and careful to address their feelings. It’s not always easy, but well worth the effort. Besides, when we take the focus off our own life and focus our attention on other people we often feel all the better for it.
The next letter that comes to me may be full of joy, or it may come from some far off place and introduce me to new and unusual things. Every letter is different just as every letter writer is different. My life is richer for having lots of pen friends. I hope you have lots of pen friends too.
“Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls. For, thus friends absent speak. —John Donne