I get mail; therefore I am. ~Scott Adams
We have an address in Okinawa. Therefore, we are. What is it about mail that remains so imbued with warmth and tangible connection? What is this ongoing love affair with snail-mail that stands each and every test of time? Or is it just me? And, curiously, is the idea of mail held in the same embrace for Gen-Xers and those generations beyond? Until today I would have said an emphatic “no”….
I was thinking about this very thing this afternoon as I completed the almost daily ritual of heading to the mailbox to check for mail. And behold, four small card-sized envelopes addressed to me from my somewhat estranged daughter Naomi. Our relationship is now only just starting to recover from a tough and somewhat nasty divorce seven years ago, and I wonder if she realizes the impact and purchase that such mail can breathe back into a relationship. In the same sense, I believe that people woefully underestimate the mysterious power that mail can conjure.
I, until very recently, still used to send hand-written postcards to friends and family. I also have enjoyed a gift of a wax stamp seal kit for letters, using it to help personal my communications. I cannot tell you how many comments I received from these simply but thoughtful acts: actually taking the time to hand-address and hand-write a (very short) note, stamping it (front and back), and dropping it in the mail…. We are all warmed by this simple act, an action of yesteryear, one that survived millennia before email and the modern electronic information age. That someone takes, not so much the time, but the intersection of time and effort to reach out and literally touch another is at once intimate and personal. Snail-mail remains special, and my somewhat sacred walk to the post box at the street in front of my house is no less filled with great expectations than it has ever been.
I hope that we will receive mail often in Japan. The dance moves are different in Okinawa; our post office is no longer literally a dance away down the driveway, but a specific journey by car to a military post office and sterile post box far, far away from our home. However, the dance is no less emotional, and shifts from a simple box-step to more of a long-distance Foxtrot. But, as is true in so many facets of life, it is always better to send than receive. Be on the lookout once we are rooted in Okinawa; postcards and letters are sure to be flying at least one-way over the Pacific!
Especially to my daughter.
PSC 482 Box 46
FPO AP 96362-0100