“I gave a letter to the Postman, he put it in his sack. Bright and early next morning, he brought my letter back!”
Elvis Presley had a hit with that tune, “Return to Sender”, in 1962. It’s amazing how powerful the written word can be! Throughout history, people have relied on writing to share ideas, songs, thoughts and important messages. What used to take days or sometimes weeks to share, now can be transmitted at the speed of light with the pressing of the “SEND” button.
But how powerful is the written word, really? I’d like to share a story with you about a friend, a letter, and my dad. My dad has made a difference in the lives of countless people throughout his life. He is honest, dependable, strong and fair. He is the kind of person that people can easily relate to and call “friend”.
Over the past year and a half, my dad has been suffering from a lung disease
and it’s starting to really take it’s toll on his health. There is no cure for the disease and, like he says, “Nobody has gotten out of this world alive yet.” He has accepted his fate and has made preparations for his next journey – to Heaven.
A few months ago, a friend of ours wrote my dad a letter. The letter wasn’t long. It was handwritten and the writer simply told my dad why she thought he was so special. She noted specific characteristics that she sees in my dad that inspire her to be a better person.
My wife and I were with my dad when he opened the letter. The impact that those written words had on him also affected us as he read them aloud. Powerful stuff! He keeps that letter, in the blue envelope, on his desk in his home office. It sits front and center amidst other important documents. I fetch the letter for him when he’s talking with visitors and he tells them that the words written are more powerful than any drug or pill a doctor could prescribe!
There are studies that have been completed on the powerful effects of this letter-writing process.
The evidence is clear that the recipient, sender and those who hear about the letter all experience positive physiological responses to the note. It has been compared to the effects of Prozac and other medications in treating mild depression. In addition to physically feeling better, the mental and spiritual aspects of our health also reap the benefits!
In his book, The Sender, Dr. Kevin Elko writes about a football coach who is going through cancer treatments and he received daily, anonymous letters that lift him up and slowly change his attitude. It’s a great book that demonstrates how life-changing something this simple can be.
Who has made a difference in your life? Think of someone (living or not) who has helped you to get to where you are at today. Take a few minutes today and write that person a letter (texts or emails would also work but there’s some extra power in a handwritten note) and tell them why they are important to you. Send them that letter and you will be amazed at the feeling of “Return to Sender” that you get back! Even if the person you’re writing the letter to is no longer living, still write that letter and keep it somewhere for yourself.
This is a simple task, but not easy. It’s simple in the sense that the process doesn’t cost much money, it doesn’t take much time, and we all have someone that readily pops into our head when we think of someone who has made a difference in our lives. It’s certainly not easy, though, because many of us don’t readily share our feelings and this may be a little bit of a leap for us. Like anything else that is not easy at first, it does get better with practice.
Have an amazing day and write someone a letter today!
I Am, I Can, I WILL!