Every time I go out to the mailbox, I am filled with anticipation. Granted, usually it turns from anticipation to disappointment quickly. Before I pull down the door I can imagine a letter, note, card, maybe even a package. Now most of the cards I actually get in the mail for my birthday are from people who are hoping to sell me something.
I keep a lot of the cards I receive, at least for a period of time. I have a memory card box I slip them into after displaying for a while in my kitchen. This way I have a certain sized box that I will go through when it's full and discard the ones I decide not to keep.
Some letters and notes I've received over the years I have tied a ribbon around and I keep them in a special place to take out and read at intervals; an unexpected letter my father wrote me years ago saying he loved me, a newsy letter from my grandmother, a picture my child drew for me, and a poem my husband gave to me on an anniversary. These items are worth far more than money and it helps me to remember what is really important. I wish I'd saved the notes my mother wrote me when I lived in Texas but they are gone. These are the type of things I regret.
Sometimes we forget how important those notes we jot down for another are to them. A sick friend, a lonely grandparent, or a soldier far away from his home. Geo saved almost all the cards and letters he received while he was gone. During the first Gulf War (Desert Storm) we weren't connected by computers. I would send a card or letter nearly every day, and by the time I received Geo's notes to me they were three weeks old. He would call home around every three weeks so during the interval I had no idea how he was or what was happening. Fortunately for us the war then wasn't like the present war. Mostly our forces had the elements more to contend with than the enemy. Loneliness was a way of life and the only thing I could do for him was to write letters with the small incidentals of my day. I mostly tried to keep the tone light but I was far from my family as well as not having him with me. I would write the letters during my lunch break at work or at night right before bed. It didn't take much time but I knew he didn't have all the comforts of being home around him. A few meager possessions and then the letters and little gifts from home were all he had.
I read the other day that people don't write notes or letters anymore. Email and facebooking is so much faster and easier. I think we've lost something though--the ability to hold those pieces of paper in our hands and sit quietly for a few moments in a comfortable chair connecting with something someone wrote us about their lives. So for myself, I am going to continue writing letters to dear friends and send them off in the post. Hopefully they will be filled with the joy of getting something unexpected in the mailbox. Take some time to think, is there someone in your life who can no longer get out, someone who needs some encouragement, or just someone you would like to know you are thinking of them? Ten minutes to write a note would be a great way to spend a few minutes and might mean more to them than you know.