By Kim Gilliland
Stone, clay, copper, silver, parchment and papyrus were all used to write upon during biblical times. I can’t even begin to imagine the tedium in writing just a quick note to a friend. If I had to produce the clay or cut down the reeds to make the papyrus, I would probably forgo any written communication. I’ve read it took Paul, or Paul’s secretary, when writing to the Thessalonians, about 11 sheets of papyrus and 20 hours to complete. Let’s put that more succinctly. If when I finish this blog, and its approximately 500 words, then it would take me more than 4 to 5 hours to finish. Good grief, Charlie Brown! I will try never to complain again about having a writing deadline.
Of course that informational excursion led me to ponder how beautifully our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written. The penmanship was almost like a piece of art. Again, I wonder how much writing would I, or could I do with my carpel tunnel wrist, if I had to handwrite with quill pen and ink? Hmm? When typewriters were invented the ease of writing became much more fluid. I have to admit I own 2 of them. I will pound at the keys just to hear the lovely clickety click, but again, much more time consuming than a computer. The ease of writing has made written communication quicker and more immediate, but what has been lost in the translation of being expedient? When I read texts, mine included, I sometimes gasp at the errancy of it all.
When once in a blue moon, which by the way happened last month, I receive a handwritten letter, it’s almost like receiving a Christmas or birthday gift. I know it took effort and time and care. I can picture the individual sitting down and thoughtfully creating the words as they move their pen along the page. It’s like seeing a bit of history in the making. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for my laptop and for the multitude of blogs and books and articles I can read and or write at the push of a button, but some days I long for a beautiful well thought out hand written note. Imagine the world without the 278 written words that began with, “Four score and seven years ago…” When I see the original online version, I try and picture Lincoln on the long train ride to Gettysburg and wonder about all the thoughts going through his head in that moment. That doesn’t seem to happen too often when I’m reading things written in Times New Roman or Sans-serif.
After all is said and done, I will continue to open up my laptop and tap away, but every once and a while, like this afternoon, I think I will pull out a piece of pretty stationery and write a quick note to a friend or relative. Write on dear friends; write on.
Kim Gilliland (K.A.Neely, her pseudonym) has written a cozy mystery, Murder with a View, and writes a weekly Christian blog. She lives in North Carolina, but will always call western Pennsylvania home. She is a Jesus follower, a wife, a sister, a grandmother, and a friend, and prays she shines His light in all of those relationships.
I so agree that a handwritten note is like receiving a gift. And it is a gift. A gift of time from the writer.