I just finished writing a 2-paragraph letter to my sister. It took me approximately one hour to warm-up; write the letter; and layout and address the envelope. All to convey information that could have been contained in three lengthy text messages. Why bother?
When I was younger, at Scout camp, writing the most love-soaked letters to my girlfriend, I had something I needed to say and no other way of transmitting it. A letter was something significant, full of my thoughts, ideas, and questions. Today, my letters are short, just a brief hello. This is, I suppose, in part because I am so new to writing that I am painfully slow. But also, I have come to conceptualize letters differently.
What I am sending, now, is not information, but an experience. I have committed a kiss or a smile to paper, wrapped it in a beautiful envelope, and packaged it for the most exquisite delivery to your house. Hold the cotton envelope in your hands and notice that you are captivated by the artistic swoops and flourishes of the address. You never knew your name could look so beautiful. Wonder what this envelope could contain to be worth such dressing up. Carefully slit the letter open and withdraw the contents. Inhale the fragrance that was spritzed upon the pages. Read the simple message that was written to you. It is over so quickly. For a moment, you don’t understand why someone went through such trouble to tell you mere trifles. And then you realize, the message isn’t in the words. The message is, “I took this trouble for you, because you’re worth it, and I wanted you to have something beautiful.” The message is, “I love you.” And that is worth the price of a postage stamp every day.