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Today's Insight - Apr. 8, 2015

  • 2015 Apr 08

Handwriting
by Charles R. Swindoll

Read through the greetings and closings of the apostle Paul's letters to the churches in the New Testament, noting his tone of warmth and concern.

There is nothing quite like the charm and personal touch conveyed by a handwritten note. Since our penmanship, like our fingerprint, is altogether unique, each curve of the letter or stroke of the pen bears its own originality. There is personality and warmth and, yes, special effort too; for, after all, it's much more efficient to click on the PC, bang out a few lines on the keyboard, and print it. But, occasionally, it's nice to think some still care enough to throw efficiency to the winds and look you right in the eye with the harmonious movement of their thoughts and fingers.

To this day I remember receiving such notes and letters from my father. His handwiting came in strong rhythmic swirls, a heavy pen that at times drove the point through the paper, exaggerated commas and slashes above each "i," a determined manner in which he slammed a period at the end of each sentence. His letters revealed much more than words; there was passion mixed with beauty, not to mention color and true concern. His choice of terms yielded clear reasoning, a dash of humor, and always logical thought, but the handwriting (with a broad, bold stylus on his fountain pen) added a depth and elegance mere type on paper would have lacked.

I never fail to pause over those rare occasions in Scripture when the writer mentions some facet of the actual writing of the book or letter. My imagination explodes with ideas as I picture Paul, for example, pen in hand, sitting beneath the flicker of a candle as a chilly draft blows through the room, the flow of ink, and such moving words as these being formed by his fingers: "I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand" (Col. 4:18). "See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand" (Gal. 6:11). Have you forgotten that God etched into stone the original Ten Commandments with His finger (Exod. 31:18)?

To have such words typeset in a carefully preserved text is indeed a treasure. But to gaze at the actual manuscript scripted by Paul would be far better. Why? Because his handwriting would communicate a host of valuable things that can't be duplicated or detected in type.

Let's not allow the speed and efficiency of our high-tech society to crowd out the personal touch. The meaning and expression your fingers add to your words is worth all the effort, regardless of how poor your penmanship may be.

Take the time to write out in longhand your words to a friend.

Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.]

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