There With You- Letters from Home
Anyone who has lived away from home- outside of their culture and apart from the people, language, food and places they find familiar- can attest to the sacredness of letters. They are a golden beam of connective energy that leads straight to that place or person to whom you attach home.
Mail is usually filled with bills and junk that few look forward to opening, but a letter glows out of the mail box screaming- OPEN ME! THERE IS LOVE IN HERE! I like to take my letter and carry it with me for a bit before I open it, creating a sort of suspense while thinking about the person that sent it.
Why are letters so meaningful? I mean, a lot of the time it is easier to pick up the phone or send an email, or facebook stalk them. Or maybe you’ll just head over to Go Girl and see what she has to say about life this week? Who has the time to buy stamps, put down thoughts on paper, and figure out where to send the card?
Next time you think about the effort it takes to write a letter, consider this: A letter is the closest you can get to someone far away- it’s kind of like a mini-vacation for you and the reader. The paper is something that both will touch, the curve of the handwriting takes time for the eyes to appreciate and, often, interpret the words.
Roland Barthes, a french man famous for his musings on love, said that one writes letters not because what they compensate for absence or because the writer wants to ensure love from another; but because a letter is ‘there where you are not’. Your words may say nothing, but it is the connectivity between writer and reader that makes every letter precious.
Take the post secret phenomenon: People write their ‘secrets’ on postcards and ship them away to be viewed by the world online and in books. There is something so exhilarating in putting anonymous thoughts into the mail and imagining its journey and who might see it. You are immediately connected with readers and fellow sympathizers by just sending in a secret.
I am continually amazed by the letters I get from friends in other states and countries- just think of the hands that passed it along the way to my dear friends hands and the enjoyment/support/love it is always guaranteed to the writer and reader.
Some letters carry a bit more meaning than others: Love letters, letters of encouragement, and letters from people whom you haven’t seen in a long while sparkle with an unbelievable warmth and strength. I have a collection of my all time favorite letters. They either said something beautifully, came at an apt time, or just make me smile/cry/laugh every time I re-read them. But I still remember that Valentine from a certain someone in second grade, which their mom probably purchased for them at the grocery store. It wasn’t fancy or even unique, except that it came from him. He put the Power Ranger sticker on there by himself.
Let me know if you would like a letter or if you want to send one my way. I promise to write back! And I am so excited to hear from you and be there where you are.
Megan, Thanks for the reminder that writing a letter is oh so special in this technological–speed is of the essence age.
just happened upon your site and this post particularly resonated with me.
earlier this week, a letter arrived in the mail: in fact, a list of questions to be answered – a time capsule of sorts – written two years ago in my kitchen in colorado, typed up by a friend, sent by a friend of a friend from Tokelau of all places, home to America, and forwarded to my current location, and opened in my kitchen in a small village in northern Japan. the best part is that its journey has a couple more hands to pass through, and atleast 24 years before it can be opened again.
but what i mean to say, is that your post made me smile.
I am so glad that your enjoyed my post! And am excited to learn more about your time capsule/letter- what a neat way to keep people connected. Keep on smiling!
this post was so sweet. it was perfect. i love letters and the giddy feeling that you get when you open the mailbox and right before opening them. yay for old fashioned us!
ps, check your mailbox soon…
Megan, thanks for the gentle reminder how special we can make a person feel, just by sending a note in the mail. I love writing on pretty stationery and finding special cards that convey a special message, for that special person. A handwritten message is never out of style.