The above quote definitely pertains to me. When I was a child, I could write a long letter with little to no effort. You see, I am from the letter writing era. I know that concept is foreign to many, since we live in a world of emails and tweets. However, there was a time when people communicated via post, and I was one of them. I had pen pals all over the world–Africa, Russia, and Japan–and I made it a priority to keep in touch with each and every person.
I loved hearing from my friends who lived on the other side of the world. The stamps they used were different from the ones I used in the states–even their addresses were unique. In fact, when I wrote to my friend who lived in Russia, I had to write out her address in Russian–so very fun for this young girl.
It’s sad when I consider that the world has lost this great pastime. I imagine the letters that Jane Austen and Charles Dickens penned. If you have a chance to study them, you will find they are filled with much wit and humor as well as grim salutations. Letters were how people conveyed what was going on in their daily lives–along with any sadness or happiness that came their way. What do we do now? We email or text someone our news, and I am afraid that in many cases our mode of communication has completely broken down. Will we every get it back? In many cases, I fear we will not.
More and more I see where people do not stop to take the time to notice the person they are talking to. Their mind is filled with their to-do list for the day; therefore, there is no time to talk to the old college friend they just saw at the grocery store. Why as humans are we like this? When did we forget how to focus, listen, and communicate with each other?
Have you ever talked to someone before and felt they were not really listening to you, or that your conversation was one of inconvenience? I know I have been in that place many times in my life, and I must confess that I strive to never treat others like that. When did we get so busy that we forgot how to enjoy the company of the person standing in our midst?
So how did the poets and authors of old treat other individuals? I am sure they had their moments of strife and upset, but I also know from reading their letters that they prided themselves on being able to reach out to a family member or friend they had not seen in awhile. Many even wrote to strangers, such as C.S. Lewis, who composed many letters to his readers. Some of my favorite letters of his to read are those he wrote to children. So many little ones wrote to him in order to ask about Aslan and the world of Narnia. It is so lovely to see that Lewis cared enough to not only write them back, but he also took the time to answer each of their questions regarding this special world he created in his books. Splendid!
I wish we could go back to days of letter writing–how lovely that would be. I know that is not possible in modern times, but there are many occasions where I do take a moment to send someone a card. And I always love getting a hand written note in the mail from someone–it makes my day! So take a moment this week to pen a letter to a friend or maybe even a short thank you note to your mom or grandma–I know they will cherish this timeless act!