Yesterday morning my husband left a note for me. Etched on a napkin it simply said I <3 U. Then at dinner, I gave it back to him. Etched on a napkin it simply said I <3 U 2. It didn’t take much to make our hearts swell — just a little dose of reciprocal love.
The first recorded handwritten letter (epistle) was by Persian Queen Atossa around 500 BC. The stamped letter we know today came into being in the reign of Queen Victoria in 1840. The first credible claim for the development of a real postal system also comes from Ancient Persia, while the point of invention remains in question. My dad retired from the post office and to this day, mail is an important part of his routine. Whenever I arrive to visit, my 85-year-old father tells me about every piece that has come, junk mail included. It is as if I can hear his heart sing when he reads the cards and notes aloud. They don’t come as often as he’d like, but thankfully, they do still come.
In this era of Facebook and other social networks, handwriting seems to be a fading art of affection. The Marvelettes debuted Please Mr. Postman in 1961. “So many days you pass me by … wait a minute … please Mr. Postman, look and see … just a card, just a letter, for me … it’s been so long.” The lyrics sure make one think about the significance of getting mail, not just e-mail, but tangible hand-written mail meant to acknowledge another person’s significance.
My husband’s little note got me thinking about how we might reclaim the gift of writing, not just in my house but yours too. The elderly, deployed soldiers, and cancer patients, are among millions of others who can’t enjoy daily interactions that we too often take for granted. Turns out, someone else has thought about that fact too. “A hand-written letter has the special power to heal. Anyone can write a letter,” says the founder of Girls Love Mail. The foundation plans to collect (and distribute) 26,000 letters for women undergoing cancer treatment, in this year alone. Not sure what to say? Go here for 4 Easy Guidelines to get you started.
Some are taking the art yet a step further. Soldier’s Angels has 232 heroes awaiting adoption. The Deployed Adoptions Team (DAT) supports service members deployed overseas in combat or humanitarian missions. You can “adopt” one of these brave women and men to receive your letters and care packages. Angles are special and rare. “They make differences in soldier’s lives and bring a smile quite often in times when they are needed the most,” notes one recipient. The impact is huge, and you can be part of it. Click to contact the foundation today!
At age 13, Jacob Cramer realized that “so many elderly have no one to care for them, no one to look after them, no one to love them.” He decided to do something about it. Love for the Elderly is dedicated to enriching the lives of seniors with kindness and joy, and letters of love. The non-profit has positively affected elders’ lives in 51 countries and 6 continents with its Senior Buddy and Social Impact programs. Jacob has inspired individuals and classrooms to get involved. Writing letters is just one part of his mission; it is the part that tugged at my heartstrings … a part for you to make an indelible mark in the lives of the word’s elders. Just click to take a look at the impact, and sign on while you’re at it.
Letters can console the
grieving, strengthen the
weary, and soften hearts.
– Kelly Needham
Like my father, I love getting letters and cards in the mail. I want to be more cognizant about sending them too. My husband and I have a collection of 35-years-worth of mutually exchanged cards and letters. I’m willing to bet you’ve got some stashed away too. Let’s revive the art of love through writing.
It is as simple as I <3 U and I <3 U 2.