The Power of a Letter

Despite the immediacy of email, a military mom shares that nothing beats putting pen to paper.

Posted in , Nov 6, 2017


We live in digital times. Even our verbal communication comes via electronics. Yet there is still power in the written word. Unlike a text or an email, a hand-written missive carries with it an integral part of the person who penned it. 

While our son was in boot camp and on deployments, he loved receiving letters from home. He shared with us how he carried some of them with him while he was on patrol. But some of his favorites were those sent from our local preschool and grade school.

When he left for deployment several teachers contacted me and asked if it would be okay for their classes to send him cards and letters. I didn’t hesitate a moment to give permission. Before the first mailing one of the teachers contacted me to let me know she’d gone through the cards and made sure there wasn’t anything in them that might upset our son. 

Confused, I asked what a preschooler could write that would be upsetting? She read me several of the cards she’d removed from the mailing, and it became obvious that I’d forgotten just how blunt a young child could be. There was one little boy who’d expressed the hope that our son wouldn’t die or get blown up. A little girl shared how she hoped he wouldn’t have to kill anyone. And still another assured my son that he’d never be forgotten even if he didn’t make it home.

All good sentiments, but not exactly sensitive. 

The next time I talked to my son, I mentioned that the teacher had made sure he got only the best and most encouraging cards from the kids. There was a longer than usual silence on his end of the phone, then he asked if there were some cards she wasn’t sending. I could tell he wasn’t thrilled with that, so I explained what had been left out.

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As I repeated some of the content that hadn’t made the cut he began to laugh. “Those are some of the best ones. Please make sure she sends them too.”

Turns out he appreciated the blunt honesty of these young children as they tried to wrap their minds and hearts around what it meant to serve in a war zone. So I contacted the teacher, and she quickly sent another package to him that contained the rest of the cards. 

I learned a valuable lesson from this.

Even when I don’t know what to say, or how to say it, the act of taking the time to try carries a powerful message to the recipient. God’s own letter to us in His Holy Word contains parts that are difficult to read. But the fact that He loves us enough to give us something tangible shows us the depth of His love. How can we do any less?

So next time you’re moved to touch base with someone, try putting away your electronic device, pull out paper and pen, and write from your heart.

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