Words that have wings

May 29, 2009 | 19 comments

I sit down to communicate with handwritten words, unfettered by computerized fonts.

No Arial,
or Times New Roman,

With a stack of postcards on my table, I take pen to paper. I use the same left-handed freestyle that has identified my writing since eighth-grade English. Call it Jennifer Script, 14-pt.

I address one postcard to a woman in town. I could email her. I could even “facebook” her (it’s a verb now, you know). But I choose to take my left-handed slant to a hand-stamped colored rectangle.

Words don’t fly at 90 words per minute when written this way. Even so, these words will sprout wings in the wait …


In today’s fast-paced world, there’s a name for letters that show up the old-fashioned way: snail mail. Opening the mailbox isn’t as thrilling as it once was. Most of our personal correspondence doesn’t come via our dusty, country lane; it travels here via the polished Information Superhighway.

But, this week we hit the Mailbox Jackpot:
An early birthday package for Anna.
A packet of stationery for Lydia, with an embossed initial L in each corner.
A copied childhood photo sent by my mother, along with a handwritten note.

And this: a front-page Des Moines Register story that carried the headline: “Penmanship making a comeback in Iowa.”

Have we gotten so far away from taking ink to paper that handwriting now earns “comeback” status?

The story quotes an educator who says: “The children are just lost. People keep saying, ‘We have computers. We don’t need to write.'”

Mom has a computer. But she still needs to write. Mom’s thoughts, put to paper, carry more weight in my hands than they would in my inbox.

She writes in Mother Script: “It’s 90 degrees here now – 5:00 P.M. Isn’t that something? We are so thankful for your Dr. report — several have called and inquired.”

Mom’s words came slowly by today’s standards. Yet they sprouted wings, carrying joy that perched on my kitchen table today. I had to wait for it.


Those who wait for the Lord
will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles.
— Isaiah 40:31

It’s been a couple years since the rusty mailbox at Great-Grandma Lee’s house has been filled with mail. I stopped here today, because the mailbox had fallen open, like the mouth of a tongue-wagging dog.

At mailbox edge
I think of hope
carried on wings of words
to a mother, waiting.
Letters from her Vietnam soldier:
“Mom, I’m OK.”
Hallmark greetings.
Grocery coupons,
(clipped and saved)
Photographs and
“Birds & Blooms.”
Bits of hope
where ink met paper
in the wait.

In our fast-paced world, God whispers: Wait.

He said wait, and a prophet named Isaiah took pen to parchment.

Wait, He says, I will give you new strength. You’ll sprout wings in the wait!

I peek inside Great-Grandma’s mailbox — a compartment where winged-words landed long ago — to find that hope is still taking flight there today.

For the mailbox held a bird’s nest. Feathers, straw and a cupped birthing place for new wings to sprout and soar, unfettered.


Postcards ready for “snail mail.”

A mother’s gift, atop a news story about the lost art of handwriting.
Mailbox filled with feathered hope.

by | May 29, 2009 | 19 comments


  1. RCUBEs

    I love the way you described that famous Scripture literally and figuratively. Yes, what a fast-paced world and after all the rush, nothing much was accomplished. There seems to be more and more to do, while missing the Lord’s presence in the blessings He sends our ways. I’d rather wait…and not miss Him. God bless.

  2. Anne L.B.

    What a breathtaking post, Jennifer.

    Long after entries have fallen away from the recycle bin, 14-pt Jennifer will live. Long after we leave earth, the Word of God will stand.

  3. patty

    Thanks for sharing in both handwritten and type written ways…

  4. Wendy

    Quite moving. I love the way you pieced this post together.
    And there could be a whole book written about the picture of the mailbox.
    ~ Wendy

  5. mm

    Dear Jennifer…

    I am new here, not sure how I made it to your ‘front porch’ – but so glad I did.

    I think today I will pull out a piece of pretty stationary… and send a gift to a waiting heart.

    Thank you for the encouragement.


  6. Monica

    Yeah…nothing like the feel of a good pen on good paper.

  7. Jennifer

    Such a beautiful post–there’s something about putting pen to paper that slows down my mind enough for God to speak. Without the backspace button, I have to think longer before writing down the words, and in those spaces, God is there just waiting for me. But I also appreciate that you type up your thoughts to share with us. Were they merely handwritten, so many would not be blessed by your words. 🙂

  8. janelle

    Jennifer, I try to keep some blank notes at work; seems when I’m there its most often I think about someone who may need to get “special” mail (That’s what I call it); used to be I got excited when I got an email. Now, I love the “snail mail.”

    I too, write with a left-handed slant…

  9. sharilyn

    wow. i love this post, jennifer. so much like myself. i love wonderful paper and a good pen… i miss the days of long hand-written letters–both writing and receiving. and, for some reason, i cannot really journal using the computer; i have to use pen and paper or it just doesn’t work for me… and though i love trebuchet, i so much more love receiving a card in my best friend’s or my mom’s handwriting!

  10. gabi dickinson

    What an incredibly beautiful post!

  11. hope42day

    My mom and dad still write snail mail…I call it love mail and every time I get a letter, I excitedly open it. I have saved every one of their letters.
    When my hubby and I were dating, we wrote love letters. I still have everyone of those as well.
    When my grandmother died, her written word lived on. And if snail mail ends, how will we live on? For somtimes memories fade, but words, never…
    Beautiful post…I love the picture of the birds nest.

  12. JML

    One my best friends has the last name Lee as well. He married a Jennifer. They’re wonderful people. My grandma refuses to GET a computer, let alone do any of the things that come along with it. She writes letters. They’re always a joy to get because even though the medium can be sentimental, she’s not. The appearance of old-lady cursive peppered with sarcasm always makes me smile, it’s quite contrasting. Good post

  13. Billy Coffey

    You have no idea how I sometimes long for the days of handwritten letters in the mailbox. No matter how far technology may take us, it’s the old ways that still warm us the most.

    So good, Jennifer. As usual.

  14. L.L. Barkat

    Oo! Another poem tucked away in a scented corner. I’ll link to it in this week’s RAP. I love your poetry, emerging from quiet places.

    This phrase captured me…

    I think of hope
    carried on wings of words
    to a mother, waiting

  15. christy rose

    There really is nothing better than a hand written personal note!

  16. A Simple Country Girl

    Beautiful… I found you by way of HCB and RAP. I am sure our country lanes will cross again.


  17. sojourner

    Hi! I popped in from RAP and like L.L. loved the way you tucked tiny poems into your writing – I too slant my writing to the left; although, I'm not left handed. I started doing it in late elementary school to be different. Thank you for the weaving of words to the end point of nested life with wings :0)

  18. nAncY

    came through the rap tunnel and ended up here. i was looking for a poem and got a whole post!


  19. Laura

    Oh, Jennifer! These words fly.

    So special to receive a blessing in the "snail mail". Love these sentiments. Writing still holds that special magic for me that it did at tender age of twelve scribbling secretly in diary.

    You make my heart all a-flutter with thoughts of a lady-bug stationary set received as a gift in little-girl days.




  1. July 2011: Making Communication Work : Laity Lodge Family Camp – A Christian Family Camp in Texas - [...] Words That Have Wings- Jennifer Dukes Lee talks about a seemingly lost form of communication. [...]

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