10 Ways to Write a Meaningful Card

My mother was a champion letter and card writer. She never missed a birthday, anniversary, or holiday. She wrote me frequently and at length.

After Lillian Groothuis died in 2010, I began writing cards and letters more frequently. I did not write enough cards or letters o my mother or grandmother Groothuis, who was also an admirable correspondent.  Now I write many souls frequently, some of whom I don’t know or barely know. Some are in my inner circle of correspondence.

After writing a dear friend’s father, I learned that he read my card to his daughter over the phone and remarked that I should write a book on how to write a short, but meaningful card. I don’t think I could write a whole book on it, but here are a few notions on that theme.

  1. Writing cards is a way to re-humanize a de-humanized culture. Too much is too automatic and impersonal. When you pen (and I mean pen) a card, it bears the mark of you—your handwriting, your choice of ink and pen. A human, you, emerges from the think lagoon of the pre-set, the template, the standard.
  2. I often pray, “Lord, who needs a card?” God answers, and I write many cards to many people on many themes. Someone needs a card because she is lonely or suffering or both. Someone may need a card because they have a gift that is largely ignored. I write to commend them, to recognize another gift to man from God.
  3. I chose my cards carefully, using blank cards with interesting illustrations, such as dogs (always good) or modern art or many other depictions.
  4. I usually write when I have time to reflect on what I should write. I don’t usually dash them off. Too much is already dashed off in our hurry sickened world.
  5. I commiserate, thinking through the life of the one to whom I am writing. How can I speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) to another person made in God’s image and likeness? What do they need to hear? What might they hear from me that few others have told them?
  6. I reflect on how Scripture might speak to them. I may quote a verse from the Bible or write some thing like, See Ecclesiastes 9:11, or some other verse. I want biblical truth and wisdom to inform what I write. There is already enough bullshit out there.
  7. I often end with a biblical blessing, such as 2 Corinthians 13:14 or one improvised on biblical themes.
  8. I write cards of condolence as often as I can. This is an art. I endeavor to enter their sorry, to restate what they might be experiencing. I do not offer cheap consolation. I lament with one who has lost a friend or relation or who is suffering ill health.
  9. I often want to teach through my cards, so I recommend books to read.
  10. I often decorate my cards in sometimes silly ways. Jazz stickers are cool, as are insects. This adds a personal, and for me, a quirky touch.

Consider joining me in my effort to re-humanize the world through the simple, but soulful, act of writing cards and letters.


14 thoughts on “10 Ways to Write a Meaningful Card

  1. Dr Groothuis, thank you for your insightful article. I forwarded it to a friend also. I pray for you and your wife. May God give you grace in your circumstances.

  2. Yes! I am actually a life long postal letter writing enthusiast. I write “pen pals” (such a juvenile and misunderstood term) – the hobby isn’t just for children. I am middle age and there are still adults out there who like making friends by pen and post. But I know your article isn’t about that, but about writing notes more broadly to encourage people.
    “Writing cards is a way to re-humanize a de-humanized culture.” – As Christians we should excel at this type of thing!
    “I usually write when I have time to reflect on what I should write. I don’t usually dash them off. Too much is already dashed off in our hurry sickened world” – Yes! Jesus took time for people. So should we.
    THANKS for this wonderful article Dr. Groothuis.

  3. Good suggestions. I love sending snail mail. and the ones i receive i always date them and save them and from time to time re-read them they always bless me. this article encouraged me to write one, two actually. I agree with Walter the “b” word should not included. in fact, i’d encourage you to delete.

  4. Pingback: Links to Begin the Week - RobertKrupp.com

  5. Pingback: Re-humanize the world…through letter writing! | Postman's Treasure

  6. Pingback: James Sire: Some Personal Reflections – Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D.

  7. Thank you. I do feel called to send lots of cards of encouragement, and this will help me do it better. I love shopping for blank cards in all sorts of places, and prayerfully matching the card to the recipient. On the BS reference, it used to bother me a lot, until my two nephews who are bible college graduates told me one of their bible professors showed them how it is not actually cursing from a biblical view point.

  8. Pingback: God the Son came near. How can you? Being more personal in an impersonal age. | Enough Light

  9. Pingback: Reaching out and sharing Christ during COVID-19 | Enough Light

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s