Thursday, July 28, 2022

A Handwritten Note

I have the joy and privilege to gather every Thursday morning with some very special women for Bible Study. I love these women. They challenge me and pray for me and encourage me. What a blessing!

We are currently doing a study in the book of Haggai in the Old Testament using Jennifer Rothschild’s study Take Courage to guide our study. 

Haggai is one of those Old Testament prophets you might not have given a lot of attention to. His book is only two short chapters, but as we have learned from our study, it is full of encouragement. Full of the challenge to take courage. And that’s important for us in our world today. There are all kinds of reasons for us to be frustrated and disheartened and discouraged, just as there were back in Haggai’s day. But in the middle of their discouragement came a word from the Lord through Haggai to them, and to us. Be encouraged. Take courage!

As I was studying this week, I began to think about ways to encourage others. And that led me to thinking about sending notes. More specifically, sending handwritten notes.

When was the last time you got a handwritten note in the mail?  

It's a lost art, really. And that's sad.

We sometimes get notes via e-mail. Or maybe we get texts.  Or tweets. Or Facebook messages.

But what about a handwritten note. In an envelope. With a stamp on it.

We may get a birthday card or a Christmas card, and those occasionally come with a hastily scribbled personal message. But not often.

During my recovery from knee surgery a few years ago, and again during my stroke recovery, I was often encouraged by messages from friends and family members. Texts, messages, e-mails, Facebook posts. Even a number of get-well cards that came via snail mail! I read each one, treasuring each message.  But the ones that meant the most to me came in an envelope, with a stamp, and were not only signed, but contained a hand-written note. Sometimes just a sentence. Sometimes two. Occasionally a paragraph. Handwritten and intended just for me. What an encouragement!

Handwritten notes are rare these days. They occasionally come for birthdays or Christmas or during times of sickness. But even then, they are rare. Even more rare are the handwritten notes that come just because.  I think that's incredibly sad.  

Perhaps we're in too big a hurry. Or we're too stressed. Or perhaps it's because we have managed in our culture to condense all our communications to 140 characters, electronically transmitted. Perhaps it’s the cost of postage.

I have a box in my closet, and a file folder in my desk drawer, of handwritten notes I've received over the years. Some on fancy stationery. Some on a cute card. Some on plain, lined, notebook paper. Some on the cover of the church bulletin. I always save handwritten notes. When I first began this habit, I had no idea that one day they would be nearly as extinct as the dinosaur!

Sometimes, particularly on tough days or dreary days or days when nothing seems to be going right, I reach into the folder and pull out a note. And reading the note again encourages me. Lifts my spirits.  

That's the power of a handwritten note. Its effect goes far beyond its initial reading; it lasts and lasts and lasts.

Could it be time for us to revive the art of note writing? To slow down a bit and send a word of encouragement, a word that will last.  

Yes, it will take time. And effort. And yes, we will have to perhaps buy some note cards and envelopes. And yes, stamps are expensive. But what is it worth to encourage someone today?

When was the last time you encouraged someone? When was the last time you sat down and wrote a note? On paper. With a pen.

Why not do it today? I dare you.

"....encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."  (Hebrews 10:25 ESV)

1 comment: