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Katyites need to remember that a handwritten note says so much more

When was the last time you wrote a letter by hand? When was the last time you received a handwritten letter? In this age of e-mails, texting, and IM-ing, getting messages to people quickly seems so much easier and more convenient than drawn-out letters written longhand. The hi-tech age seems to have signaled the end of  handwritten letters filled with heartfelt words. Yet there are times in everyone’s life when receiving one of these letters makes a profound difference.

About 15 years ago, my grandmother died. When my mother and her siblings went through grandma’s things, they asked each of the grandchildren if there was anything we wanted to remember her by.  I asked for one of the sweaters I remembered her always wearing. Even in summer, when she sat out on the porch enjoying the evening breezes, she had a sweater around her shoulders. My aunt enclosed a note with the sweater when she sent it to me. She knew I was having some personal troubles, feeling a bit depressed at the time. She reminded me how wise my grandmother had always been and how, after praying, she always seemed to know what to do. She told me that, at the times when I didn’t know what to do or where to turn, that I should ask myself, what would grandma do? I have found myself asking that question many times since then – for the big things as well as the small. I start with a payer, and think about what grandma would have done, and the answers come. Those times when wisdom has failed me have been the times when I failed to heed this advice.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to write a heartfelt letter to someone else. My husband’s uncle went through a rocky divorce when his 3 girls were young, causing a major rift between him and his youngest daughter. The hurt feelings separated them for many years. He died a few years ago without the benefit of a reconciliation. Her two older sisters convinced their youngest sister, my husband’s cousin, to come to the funeral in an attempt to heal her wounds and help her on the path toward forgiving her father and herself. My husband was so glad to see his long lost cousin and to be able to spend time with her that day, it was all he talked about for weeks. When Christmas came around soon after, I found her address, and sent her a Christmas card with a note telling her how much my husband had missed her all these years, especially around Christmas, and how glad he was to be able to spend time with her again. She showed up at the extended family’s Christmas gathering that year for the first time in about 20 years. The entire family was ecstatic to see her. She pulled me aside to thank me for that note. In all those years, she’d never realized that her father’s family had been missed her so much. The note and the warmth she felt that Christmas went a long way in healing her wounds and helping her find the forgiveness she needed.

Handwritten notes don’t have to be several pages long. A simple paragraph or even just a couple of sentences may be all that are needed to reconnect with long lost relatives or friends, to heal old wounds, or to help guide someone through rough times. Even if everything is going well in the other person’s life, receiving a few loving words, written by hand, carries more meaning than any quick e-mail ever could, and sends a ripple effect of warmth from that person to everyone they touch afterwards.  If you know of someone you haven’t sent a warmhearted letter to in a while, track down their current address and send them a letter or a card with a few words to let them know what they mean to you and tell them that they are important. If you haven’t had a heart-to-heart in a while, the few words you jot down might just turn out to be the right words at the right time

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