Sending a handwritten letter is becoming such an anomaly. It’s disappearing.
My mom is the only one who still writes me letters. And there’s something
visceral about opening a letter – I see her on the page.
I see her in her handwriting.
I came up in a time when letters were the mode of long distance conversation. I came up in the days where people wrote in a style called cursive, even Grannies who never made it past 6th grade.
I never outgrew the smiles that getting letters from Granny brought to my face.
With a lack of punctuation, her letters read like rambling, run-on sentences. Her writing was a mess of elementary school cursive that, as a kid, mama had to interpret for me. Even as an adult I struggled making out her writing and had to read them through once to learn where the stops were and read again to get the story.
Our trading of letters started when I was in grade school. I reckon she was the one who started it and it was a good thing teaching me the art of staying in touch and proper letter writing. She sent cards when our babies were born and letters written on simple stationary catching me up on family news in her town.
I can picture her walking to Safeway or Piggly-Wiggly, a walk I’ve made with her on occasion. She never drove, lived alone, but I expect she’d get her cards there when she bought her can of Folger’s Coffee, a breakfast staple in her house along with sausage, biscuits and grape jelly.
Granny taught me the importance of communication in the span of distance. She showed me it wasn’t about pretty handwriting or engraved stationary but it was all about the importance of connection with no excuses for miles between.
There are other letters, held in a book called the Bible, a book written to everyone with words meant to include all into God’s family. The letters and other writings there are an invitation to join the conversation. To accept the love sent in the words to us and to show that love in our ordinary life.
I had the good sense to keep a few of the cards Granny sent. They’re an example of a precious, but ordinary, beauty in my life. I have the better sense to keep the words of Jesus, the words that tell the story of an eternal beauty, an everlasting love to all.