While I do enjoy finding old friends and messaging current friends on Facebook or seeing that a twitter friend likes my tweet, I am more moved when I hold a personal letter. In The Road Less Traveled, Oliver bemoans the fact that people look for instant perfection in the photos they take, neglecting to capture a real moment in time with its imperfections. He could have been speaking of the intimacy of a letter also, when real moments are shared just between two people who write from their hearts.
My love for letters goes back a long time to the letters I exchanged with my first pen pal in New Zealand when I was ten. Because I am sentimental I have a stash of letters collected through the years and organized in big white envelopes in a filing cabinet. Every so often I take an afternoon reading some of them and remembering all the dear people in my life who wrote them, most of them gone now.
Life on the home front in WWII comes alive to me in the seventy plus V-mail letters my paternal grandmother, an immigrant from Norway, wrote to my father as he served in the South Pacific. “God bless you my dear son…I dreamed last night you came home and surprised me…let’s pray that comes true…we had news you had your appendix out on board ship…please take care…now they are rationing butter here, and your sister needs new shoes: I don’t have enough ration coupons…the rhubarb is coming in…your brother wants to join up…praying for peace, Your waiting Mother."
The Treasure Box episode highlighted the enduring legacy of love letters and the romance of “good words” exchanged between a man and woman in love. When my mother passed away, I had to go through her treasures, including love letters written to my dad, and he to her, almost every day of their courtship during WWII. He called her his “dear darling sweetheart, every moment I am awake I think of you…” They worried if they could find an apartment, if they had enough money to take a honeymoon etc. These revealed a side of my parents I never knew and helped me understand their many years of love in a new way.
Shane warned in Impossible Dream to “pay attention to the simple little things in front of you or they could be gone.” As a mother, I treasure all the little letters that my boys wrote from summer camp. My youngest wrote from his first time away … “the food is HORRIBLE, I failed my swimming test, it is so hot in the tent, when I see the moon at night I think that you are looking at the same moon as me. Please let me know how the Royals are doing… I kind of wish I was home!” How can my heart not melt at his innocence and sweetness even though he has long grown up and left home.
I love Signed, Sealed, Delivered for many different reasons, but I hope the series will inspire fans to sometimes take pen to paper and write a letter to someone close to their heart. We never outgrow our need for affirmation and when we hold a real letter we feel that over and over. Then we will understand as Norman told Shane, “And see it’s handmade…someone thinks you’re special!”
The Living Letters series continues as long as there are stories (or even praise reports) to share, and I'm always looking for submissions. If you would like to contribute something about how Signed, Sealed, Delivered has impacted your life (or even your wardrobe) that you'd be willing to share here on A&D, feel free to email me. Keep the good going and submit yours today!