It has long been said that words matter, but actions speak louder. When those two combine, the miracle happens.
Today, with how busy and technological things are, for me, the written word received is glorious. To have someone take time (a scarce commodity for most) to hand write a thoughtful note, letter or card, then put a stamp on it, get it out into the mail with full-fledged intention, says so much to me. I am the blessed recipient of such a beautiful and powerful (and now rare) gesture. A friend I have not seen in a while (too long) took the time to sit down, pull out pen and note card and proceeded to scribe a note of encouragement, kindness and genuine support for me and something she knew was important to me. The time, effort and consideration it took to do that, not to mention the thoughtfulness behind it, meant more to me than I can properly express. For her, I am betting she would say “it was nothing.” She would be wrong. It was something…something I appreciate a great deal, especially knowing the extraordinary schedule she keeps with two young children, a busy career and travel.
Even as a kid, I used to love getting mail. I always marveled at how it worked …put something in this big blue box on the street and a few days later it got where it was supposed to go. How cool is that? How simple it seemed back then to send and how magical it was to open the box at your driveway or on the side of your house, look inside and something there with your name on it. That is when I began my love affair with Hallmark. I love sending cards for no reason and off season. It is fun to surprise someone with that little something with their name on it. In college, well, in college my mailbox was my refuge. I was eager each day to check and see what was inside; to hear from home, get a note, a care package or a simple “thinking of you…you got this” every now and then. What a gift and how for granted I took that gesture and that opportunity.
In this day of insta-this and insta-that, 120 characters, emojis, acronyms, evites and e-cards; the power of the written word is often lost. Don’t get me wrong, I believe fully in reaching out to forge positive and important connections with people in any way possible. However, for me, nothing beats a thoughtful, thought out, strung together set of words, written in the sender’s own hand, presented with kindness and consideration. I feel a bit sad for those who never really experienced that form of communication being the only form there was for a while. Anxiously awaiting a reply with no way to know how long it may take. How many of you remember that impatient wait for college responses…is it a fat envelope or skinny? Is it a letter that begins with the words “congratulations,” or “we regret to inform you?” Oh my goodness, the anticipation.
In a world where we want instant answers, sometimes slowing down and waiting is worth that wait. Heart wrenching, storytelling, love sharing, life changing words in a letter or a card, delivered to your door, penned personally…fantastic. Taking time to sit with those written words in your hands and hearing the writer in your head speaking those words to you. Being able to go back and open or unfold and re-read those words is something special. Have you seen Ken Burns’ civil war documentary…amazing in general, but the letters…oh the letters were just beautiful. The power, angst, love and soul sharing of those words were riveting to listen to. Have you seen the play “Love Letters?” I have two amazing friend who performed this A. R. Gurney play years ago….just two people, sitting at a table, sharing their life story via written letters. The most powerful thing I have seen and it resonates with me and makes me cry even today. The power of written words.
I think we often fully underestimate the power of words…however they are delivered. Words can fix and they can break; they can heal, and they can hurt; they can inspire and dash a dream; they can create and demolish relationships and they can do great good and they can do great harm. The resulting impact of any word(s) can be tremendous, it can change a moment, a day, a mood or a life. Even just a single word – consider a yes vs. a no; or here vs. there; or stop vs. go and what it can do to motivate or stifle, encourage or defeat. Think too, how truly simple it is to turn a situation around for someone with just a few additional words added to that single written word…yes you can; I am here for you; go forward you can do it; don’t stop.
All I know is getting a handwritten note from someone remains a gift to me. A few words or many, it is truly the thoughtfulness behind it that matters most…however it is delivered. But, if you want to wow someone, make them feel special…combine your kinds words with action, an envelope and a stamp and watch….miracle.
I wish you today, as in all days, a good day.