As long as I can remember I have always loved receiving mail. Growing up I had several pen pals over the years, including one from France, Jamilla Ben Amar. My friend Omar and I would correspond faithfully throughout the summer break when he went to visit his family in the Virgin Islands.
I also liked entering the contests found on the back of cereal boxes. This was a surefire way to receive something in the mail. One time without my mother’s knowledge, I decided to write someone from the phonebook. It was during this time that I was reading the Nancy Drew series. I was so fascinated with the girl sleuth! Out of curiousity I wanted to see if there was an actual person by that name so I turned to the white pages. I found a listing for a Nancy Drew in the phonebook and I commenced to write her a letter. Much to my shock and delight, she wrote back!!!
I am no different as an adult. I still love to receive letters and cards. Even more, I love to be the sender. I’ve made it a monthly ritual to choose five friends and/or family to send a letter or card. I love pretty paper, envelopes, stickers, nice pens, and colorful stamps. I’ve even sent cards to Nicholas. My mother loved to receive my postal perks as well.
Each of the boys have subscriptions to their favorite magazines. Nic gets both Legos and Nic magazines, Ethan receives Sports Illustrated for Teens, and Evan loves his WWE for Kids magazine. This guarantees them something in the mail at least once a month.
At one point in time I looked forward to receiving correspondence from Eliza. But now, not so much.
I also maintain this practice with my students. I buy pre-stamped postcards to jot quick message to their parents. This is my small way of celebrating their achievements or to provide encouragement to poor students. The kids really appreciate the gesture and often show the postcards to others with pride.
When I got the mail on Saturday I was met with the usual suspects—junk mail, bills, and flyers. I was thinking how nice it would have been to have received a letter or card. Sometimes I crave that paper sunshine.
I know that personal letters are a thing of the past, especially with the advent of email and most recently text messaging. I don’t even consider time a factor because you have to take time to compose electronic mail as well. The cost of postage is cheaper than the internet service provider and/or the monthly cell phone bill.
A month ago I was feeling really blue. I actually asked God to send me a sign through the mail to uplift me. That very day when I retrieved the mail, there was a letter from a former student of mine. I couldn’t believe it! God had granted my request.
I eagerly opened the letter and was quickly disappointed. Heather had written to ask me to edit a piece that she was working on (not an unusual thing in my line of work). She wasn’t writing to provide cheer at all. I didn’t bother to finish reading it and tucked the letter away.
Later in the week I sat down to begin editing Heather’s piece. It was the beginning of a chapter from an autobiography that she was writing. It was about her experience as one of my students! Her words put a much needed smile on my face. I was in awe that God had answered my simple request.
If it’s been a while since you sent a real letter to someone, I urge you to do it today! Who knows whose day you could brighten by this seemingly small act. Hooray for mail!