In a world in which news can reach us in a matter of mere seconds after it has occurred, I feel like we are missing out on the human element. When was the last time you honestly had a phone conversation with someone that lasted more than a minute? Better yet, when was the last time you got a letter in the mail from a friend? With the Internet and email, we don’t need to rely on the post office or old Mr. Bell’s invention to send news quickly to one another. In a click, our baby’s new pictures or a web video of his or her first words can be sent. Our handy phones can do all the talking for us. Just the other day I was scrolling through my text messaging templates and I saw one that said, “I love you”. Now I don’t even have to take the extra five seconds it would take for me to type the words; I could just click a button or two and my message would be sent.
That knowledge makes me sick. How important do I think my life is that I can’t stop for a few seconds and text a loved one those words?
Furthermore, why couldn’t I just call and leave a message? Why do I have to text at all?
In a blog I wrote called, “Saving the Post Office One Post card at a Time” http://mwittle.wordpress.com/2009/08/08/saving-the-post-office-one-post-card-at-a-time/, I discussed the importance of the post office and also the importance of getting personal mail. But I think with this blog, I need to take it one step more.
I fear we are becoming more and more dependent on machines to hold our memories and our most treasured items. For that, we need to be ashamed.
Computers crash and phones die. But what does last is the written word.
I can tell you that some of my most precious items are cards and letters I have gotten over time. One card that comes to my mind as I write this blog is one I got for my birthday a few years ago. On it was a purple stick figure of me and it said on the front, “Happy birthday to (there was then an arrow pointing to the purple stick figure)”. Inside the card held many of our private jokes that I could explain to you but it wouldn’t make sense and you would be bored, so I will spare you all of that. But the reason I love this card so much is because it was created just for me by the giver. Hallmark couldn’t have created a better card.
The words that come from the heart mean the most. While it is true you can pour your heart and soul in an email, it doesn’t really have the full power you could get from writing it in your own hand.
So, I ask you all to consider this final thought. When you have something very personal to say to someone else, find the human element that works best for you. Some might want to talk on the phone, while others (myself included) may need to write the words out on paper. Send it off in the mail or hand it to the person; but make sure you take the time to give that extra human touch. Trust me, when that person needs you the most, all they will need to do is take out that letter or recall your voice. It will help far more than an email or a text message.