In HOPE: Writing for the heart – a lost art | Columnists


Written letters do not get lost on a server and in thousands of other computer files.

By Tracy Himes

The power of a personal message, written by a loving hand using real ink and paper, is unique on the modern communication scene. But like many other popular traditions, writing by hand – and from the heart – is a dying art.

Think about the last letter in the mail that you received or sent. Can you even remember? If we don’t resurrect the outdated practice of sending a note, the gesture risks dying out among today’s generation of communicators. It won’t seem practical to a growing child to text to make time or effort, but it’s important to try to convey the message of why they should care.

Physical letters cannot be lost on a server, or among thousands of digital files, or altered by accidental changes. Handwritten notes will stand the test of time and serve curious minds to come. Everyone loves a story about finding treasure in an old box in the attic, and there’s something magical that happens when a note is unfolded and words are read. The voice comes to life in your heart, much like perfect harmony would in your ears. Soothing, comforting, loving. I’d bet written notes have more powerful lasting effects than all the texts, emails, and voicemails you’ll ever receive, combined. Because no one will probably ever see them again.

A written word feels better to the eyes and to the soul, like the personal gift that it is. My most valuable possessions are stored in a fireproof safe. My brother reveals 99 letters from Vietnam, with ‘free’ postage, my dad’s letters he wrote to mom when he was in the navy, especially the one that ended with ‘I love you’ in his greeting repeated 12 times after which he added, “very, very, very, very, very, very, very much”. Every sweet word my husband wrote to me, including one that stays in my wallet at all times. Precious and rare are the moments we share in print.

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