where a woman can build her strength and freedom

When is writing a letter by hand essential?

A photo showing an airmail letter with a stamp from Canada.

Are you able to hand write a letter?
Not perfectly, but clearly enough to be readable?
If you answered Yes, congratulations!
You are one of the people saving an endangered species from extinction.

Why does writing a letter by hand matter?
You may wonder what difference it makes.
Words are words.
You may challenge me:
Why is it ever essential???

Writing emails and texts is way faster than handwriting and mailing a letter!
When I type emails or texts, I can correct my errors.
And I can get answers right way.
Why would I ever use snail mail???

OK, I hear you.
Your points are valid.
But you are missing the important insight:
There are things that emails and texts simply cannot do.

When you need to create a deep emotional connection
with a human being you care about,
there is no written form on earth
with the power
(and the value to the recipient)
of a handwritten letter.
There are times in life when nothing less will do.

Four times when you need to pull out the pen and paper

Allow me to describe four of the primary situations
that call for a handwritten letter:

Someone you care about needs comfort.
They are grieving, ill, defeated or afraid
and you want to express your compassion for them in their suffering.

Someone you have met has moved you to fall in love with them.
You want to gently express to them
your feelings of tender interest, attraction and admiration.

Someone you have hurt, offended or grievously wronged
is in need of hearing you make a full, sincere and unequivocal apology.
You want and need to do so
and then you want to ask them for their forgiveness.

Someone has given you a very special time, their loving care,
or an exceptionally thoughtful gift that deeply touched you.
You want to express to them your heart felt gratitude.

Let me tell you a story…

A few weeks ago, I invited one of my best friends
and his wife and his wife’s mother to come for a visit.
It’s a two hour drive for them, but we do this every summer
except we missed last summer due to covid.

I was greatly looking forward to seeing them again,
and wanted them to know how much I treasure them.

So I decided I would bake bread for them.
I baked my best challah (egg braid)
and timed it to come out of the oven golden brown
just in time for lunch.

Wow, they loved it!
Along with the BBQ meatballs and egg salad I also rustled up
with fruit salad and ice cream for dessert.

We sat out on the porch, talking up a storm,
laughing and sharing for hours (this is a friend from grade school.)
When they left, I sent them home with the second loaf of challah.

A few days later, what do you suppose arrived in my mailbox?
You guessed it.
A handwritten thank you note.

It took me by surprise,
as such a note these days is rare.

Dear Deb,
Thank you so much for the wonderful visit on Tuesday. We
appreciate all the work you did to feed us and make us comfortable.
Everything was delicious. Your
bread making skills are magnificent!
We hope all goes well as you work
toward your races.
(their first names)

How do you think that made me feel?
The same as it would have made you feel!
It made me deeply happy.
It made me feel highly appreciated.
And it made me look forward to creating
a wonderful encore spread for them next summer!

I will keep their note always.
Along with the boxes of loving handwritten letters
I have from my mom, my aunt, my cousin, my first boyfriend,
and my friends over the years.

I hope you, too, have received and kept such treasures.
If you have, you know their emotional power and value.
If you haven’t,
why not take the first step yourself…
learn to write in cursive if you don’t yet know how…
and begin giving your loving words to others
in handwritten letters they will treasure forever.

Dr. Hall

PS for further insight on the value of letters,
please see my previous thoughts in:
Mr. Postman look and see, is there a letter in your bag for me?

PPS If you start learning to hand write now,
you will be in great shape by February
to write an unforgettable Valentine!
And you may just receive one back in your mailbox,
and thus have no need to read the post
I wrote you last year about receiving one from me:
Did you receive a Valentine? You did now.