Tonight I was talking to a lady whose daughter has a boyfriend who lives in the Dominican Republic. They see each other a few times a year, but they still talk every day. With cell phones and the internet, it is easier than ever to communicate. "When I was young, all we had were letters," the mother bemoaned, as she thought back to the day when she and her own husband were living in separate countries. "And letters took at least a month to arrive. Sometimes I would have relatives come to the U.S. and tell me things faster than his letter would get here!"
That's the problem with letters--they can be slow. But there are few treats more delicious than receiving a handwritten letter in the mail. It's a mode of communication I hope never ends. For the past two years I've written letters to my brother as he's served a prison term. He finished his sentence this past week, which is really good news, but I admit that I will miss our letter-writing back and forth. Because of it, I have actually been able to understand and love my brother even more than I did before. Hand-written letters have a way of exposing another side of a person, fostering an intimacy that cannot be found in email or over the phone. Maybe we will still keep in touch by pen and paper, but I'm sure that my brother and I will instead just talk on the telephone now--it is so much easier and faster. More likely, we will just send facebook messages back and forth once in a while. I'm sure that, ironically, we will become so busy with our lives that we won't even talk anymore as much as we did by letter when he was in every other way incommunicado. Isn't life strange? I don't think I'm ready to give up on writing letters.