I check my mail every single day.
I am never really expecting anything specific, of course, aside from the occasional Amazon delivery. All of my bills are paid online, my junk-mail blockers are up, and most of my magazine subscriptions come around the same time each quarter. Alas, with hope in my tummy, I still check my mail each day, eager for a surprise.
And last week did not disappoint. After coming home from an 8-day out-of-town institute, I was surprised by a small manila envelope sitting in my mailbox. Before I could get to the contents of the package, I opened a card – addressed to me – explaining the purpose of this piece of mail.
“I am writing you today about letters. As you know, I love notes. They are small acts of kindness delivered to your mailbox. It’s joy in a simple form. This summer it’s my goal to help send 200+ letters. I want you to join me! All I ask is that you send 5 letters to someone you love or a stranger that needs a little joy.”
This message was sandwiched between words of encouragement and general life blessings, and overall existed as a goosebumps-worthy way to start my week. Behind the beautiful letter were five stamped, unaddressed pieces of stationary, wrapped in a beautifully worded note about letters.
“Because sending a letter is the next best thing to showing up personally at someone’s door. Ink from your pen touches the stationary, your fingers touch the paper, your saliva seals the envelope, your scent graces the paper. Something tangible from your world travels through machines and hands, and deposits itself in another’s mailbox; their world. Your letter is then carried inside as an invited guest. The paper that was sitting on your desk, now sits on another’s. The recipient handles the paper that you handled. Letters create a connection that modern and impersonal forms of communication will never replace.”
Like my dear friend, I love letters. I believe in letters, and I care desperately for the art of handwritten notes. While some might argue this art form to be declining or dying, I tend to disagree. What you put out there, you get back. And before I could even celebrate around a plan for sending out the pre-stamped letters, I got another surprise package. This one was from two of my best friends from college, who knew my favorite holiday, the 4th of July, was upon us.
I all but fell apart while reading their card and staring at the surprise gifts. Just as my first friend noted in her letter, “They are small acts of kindness delivered to your mailbox,” I tend to agree more and more. And in the spirit of inspiration and other warm-fuzzies, I spent most of Friday reflecting and writing, and had a tender moment with the US Post Office. Accompanied by five of my own blank and stamped pieces of stationary, the little note below is now on its way to Iowa City, IA. To my little sister, Hope, I challenge you to pay it forward – share some joy this month, show some love.
*Giant thank you to my dear friend, Paige Acker, for thinking of me, charging me with this beautiful task, and declaring to make the world a more positive place for all – I’m thankful to know such a genuine and authentic human being.
**Double-thank you to my friends Tasha Hinex and Jessica Shropshire, who sent me the 4th of July goodies, and reminded me that the people who know you best are the best people to have in your corner (and let freedom ring, and all of that!).