My grandpa wrote love notes to my grandma.
Not just when they were young. He wrote them throughout their marriage, even as an elderly man in the last few years before his death.
I know because I found some of them.
Discovering such treasures is bound to make a person start pondering.
And in this moment, what I’m pondering is that I hardly ever write anymore.
I’m not talking about the fingers-tapping-on-keyboard-or-phone-screen kind of writing. I do plenty of that kind.
I’m talking about the fingers-grasping-pen-and-applying-ink-to-paper kind.
I use my iPhone for my grocery lists. And my vacation packing lists. And my blog post ideas list. And my every-other-kind-of lists.
I can’t remember the last time I hand-wrote a list on a notepad, or even on the whiteboard I still (for some reason) keep on the fridge.
I text my husband. And my family and friends.
If I have something lengthy to say, I send an email or a Facebook message.
I can’t remember the last time I hand-wrote a full letter.
I use the Bible app, both for reading and for taking notes.
I can’t remember the last time I wrote in my leather-bound Bible.
I use my laptop for blogging and book writing.
There’s not even a need for labeling pictures. The date becomes part of the properties of a digital photo, after all.
And I can’t help but wonder what we’re missing out on.
Not so much now, I guess.
But when I’m finally in my heavenly home, my children and grandchildren will miss out on all the little pieces of me I’ve so delighted in finding from my grandparents.
The postcards and letters.
The tiny, carefully printed, time-worn notes in Bibles.
The fading labels on the backs of pictures.
The hastily scrawled grocery lists.
The quickly jotted highlights of our family reunions.
And let’s not forget the love notes.
Interestingly, my grandma was no stranger to technology. I was surprised and impressed when she learned to use a computer as a 70-something-year-old woman.
I found this email from my grandma not too long ago.
I was so thankful to find this message, tears dripped from my cheeks as I read these precious words from her.
Her personality is all over it, though her fingerprints aren’t.
But even if I were to print out this note and hold it in my hands and soak in the warmth of her words as I hear her voice in my imagination, it wouldn’t mean as much to me as the letters I have bearing words she wrote with her own hand.
In the script that was distinctly hers.
It’s just more meaningful that way, isn’t it?
Sure, handwriting takes longer. Let’s consider correspondence, for example.
A trip to the store must be made, where stationery is chosen, then purchased.
Attention must be paid to whether there are enough stamps lying around or whether a trip to the post office is in order.
A pen must be found. (Is that the hardest part for anyone else, or is it just me?)
And that pen will probably be out of ink, so another one must be scrounged up.
After all that comes the pouring out of thoughts onto paper. Thoughts that take time to form in the mind and then more time to form on the paper.
Next comes the hunting down of an envelope, followed by searching for an address. Then, finally, a trip to the mailbox.
I’m tired just thinking about all the effort required.
And yet isn’t that what makes handwriting so valuable when we’re on the receiving end? The time taken. Effort exerted. Personal touch applied.
It’s a gift.
An increasingly rare one, and yet, one I’m determined to begin imparting to those with me now, and to those I’ll leave behind someday.
The time. The effort. The personal touch found in the lost art of writing.