I found something the other day while I was cleaning out a box. The minute I saw the handwriting I knew what I had. I pulled it out of the envelope and started reading a letter my granny wrote to me while I was in college. It was dated about six months before she died. Seeing her handwriting and identifying it with her gave her back to me for a little while. She’s been gone 22 years. But for that moment, it was September of 1994 and she was talking to me about the world as we knew it.

That’s what I love about letters. They bring someone close. Even if they aren’t here anymore. I kind of feel sorry for this generation. No, this isn’t millennials bashing. I’ve met and worked with some extraordinary millennials or younglings as I like to call them. They are hardworking, conscientious, compassionate and amazing people. At least the ones I’ve met. Where my heart hurts for them is that they’ve grown up in a world of iPhones, text messages and social media. I love text messaging. It speeds communication and is a great way to connect with the busy people you care about. But a text message, no matter who it’s from, does not stir in me the memories or emotional connection that a letter does. Someone’s handwriting is as unique as a fingerprint or a snowflake. Young people today are unlikely to find a “love note” from a childhood crush or a letter from a best friend. Words in a text message aren’t usually saved so it’s hard to reread them and remember a friend, feel close to a lost loved-one or fall in love all over again.

A letter. Where someone sits down and pours himself/herself into a tangible item that can be touched, pressed to your heart and kept safe for years to come. My sister and I have decided that letter writing is a lost art and it’s up to us to bring it back. I love getting letters. I like going to the mailbox and finding more than a bill or an advertisement. I like getting a letter and finding out about someone’s life by reading what only they can write.

A letter. It’s a valuable keepsake.

When I’m done here, I’ll pull out my granny’s letter. I’ll reread it, smile, cry and be so thankful that I have something of her that can be kept in my Bible and as often as I wish, held in my hand. It takes less than a minute to read my granny’s letter. But that letter makes my granny more than a memory. It makes her real. And if a minute of her is all I can have, then I’ll take it.

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