Do you ever feel as if you are drowning in a sea of words on a screen? All the emails, text messages, and social media updates can be overwhelming.
Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful for the technology that makes it possible to be so connected to everyone. But how many of us sometimes miss the physical, tangible things of the past? Do you ever miss CDs or DVDs? Alarm clocks or wall calendars? Rolodexes or even fax machines? Perhaps this is the reason why vinyl record sales have been increasing.
In this world, I have found that physical mail from loved ones is special and meaningful. How much would it make you smile to see a card or letter from a loved one in the midst of bills and advertisements?
This is why I have started sending people more snail mail. At first, it was just birthday cards to friends and family. It’s lovely to receive birthday greetings from loved ones on social media, but there is just something exceptional about seeing a physical birthday card in the mail. I started hearing about how much it brightened their day.
I started getting excited about carrying letters out to the mailbox and raising the little red flag, knowing I was helping to spread joy and gratitude, even in small ways.
Then I found an organization online that directs visitors toward addresses of nursing homes and assisted living facilities to send letters to seniors. Letters Against Isolation was started during the pandemic when many residents in these facilities could not see their loved ones. Even before the pandemic, an estimated 60 percent of nursing home residents didn’t receive any visitors.
I found other organizations, like Support Our Troops, that give addresses to send letters of appreciation and gratitude for our troops. And I started thinking of ways I could make my letters more entertaining. I got fun, colorful paper; I printed out pictures of my cats as well as inspirational graphics of some of my favorite poems and pasted those in; and I started including stickers.
I began to send random thank-you notes to loved ones—not thanking them for anything specific, but just to say thank you for being in my life. I started getting excited about carrying letters out to the mailbox and raising the little red flag, knowing I was helping to spread joy and gratitude, even in small ways.
More Appreciation, More Joy!
The more I thought of ways to express appreciation and gratitude for the loved ones in my life, the more blessed I felt. And every time I sent a letter to a stranger, it was a way for me to make the abstract concept of oneness more tangible. Knowing that a stranger would eventually read the words I was writing or smile looking at a picture of my cats made me feel more connected to them.
So the next time your cousin’s birthday rolls around or someone gives you a wonderful gift, consider sending a card in the mail. In a world of emails and digital messages, snail mail is an excellent way to spread some love and kindness—whether you are sending mail to loved ones or strangers.
For more ideas on how to spread kindness, love, and joy to others, explore the Write It on Your Heart: Random Acts of Kindness Journal.