In recent weeks, I have begun my own letter writing mission, which is why it seemed so ironic when I came across the Ted Talk by Hannah Brencher, a 20-something year old from New York City (http://www.ted.com/talks/hannah_brencher_love_letters_to_strangers.html). In just under 5 minutes, Hannah did for me what cars and electronics must do for guys. She not only reinforced my passion, but solidified my belief in the power of the written word and made my eyes open so wide with excitement, I haven't been able to stop talking about her venture since.
With just some stationary, pens, postage and a mission Hannah started using the old school concept of writing letters to spread joy, comfort and hope across the globe. Her mission is clear, bringing life back to basics and away from the craziness of social media to really lighten up peoples lives and make a difference.
This idea really brings me back to my childhood, when the Internet was a booming new concept. I would watch my parents week after week receive letters from loved ones overseas. The joy on their faces as they got those letters and tared them open was amazing to watch. It was as though a piece of paper, some written words and the time and effort put in to writing had made such a difference in their day, their week, their month and even their spirit. It was incredible to watch. I also think back to exchanging letters with friends between classes in elementary school, high school and university even. The giggling, the sharing of crushes, heart ache, fights and funny anecdotes all filled those papers that were always folded in the most peculiar and mysterious ways. Do you remember those days?
Then I think back to whats changed since the Internet emerged. Originally we all had email, which erased the need for the paper, pen and writing but still allowed us to write endless notes that covered off our days, weeks, months and years as we strived to stay in touch with people more frequently across the globe. But then the likes of facebook, twitter and others emerged and pretty soon those long emails, sappy cards and heart felt letters got replaced, just as Hannah said by a swift 140 characters. There has been no need to really take the time to reach out or connect with people when we can use status's to really inform the world of our problems, tell people how we truly feel or air dirty laundry. I guess in reality this does link nicely to us running shoe era folks who are just too busy to really take the time to write a letter, a long email or even have a long heart felt conversation.
But where is the sense I ask in all of this? I know as we get older life is meant to get harder to balance, but doesn't that mean that we should be taking the time to really connect with the people we care with most and spread some joy into their lives whether they are stressed out, going through a rough time, celebrating something exciting or even just needing a pick me up? I realize we all need this in our lives sometime, but check your email inboxes, or go through a box of cards or letters you have saved and realize that we all have had them. We just just need to keep them going. As I said to most of you in my introductory email, the power of the written word is so great that it proves and provides a sense of commitment to your word. It's not just the words on the paper, but the time that was taken to write it that really stand for the care and heart that we all have for another. It goes back to basics, to the little things and to the reminders that no matter how crazy life gets we all have a sense of heart, sensitivity and compassion for the people that surround us. Writing a note always solidifies how we feel, reinforces our words and encourages people even in the hardest of times to believe not only in themselves but the people around them.
So I turn to you all in cyberspace and ask you to take a moment to stop, think, and reflect on your lives and the people that have come, gone and are still around even in spirit. Think about the good and bad times, the things they have done for you and allowed you to see, the encouragement and strength they have provided and the care they have showed you. And then grab a piece of paper and a pen and write them something, even if its as simple as "Thank You". You would be amazed, at what that little note could do months from now when the two of you are questioning life, each other, jobs, goals, visions and the list continues.
I will even go as to far to encourage you all by admitting that even in the midst of my letter writing mission, I took a pause to embrace this concept and wrote my own love letter to someone dear to me. Here is part of the letter I am willing to share:
No matter what your story, your fears, your worries or your concerns are, I am here to tell you that I too share the same. They may sound or feel different but they are matched with the same level of vulnerability that you feel. However, regardless of their daunting, scary and overwhelming nature, I can promise that by facing them together they will never feel this way again. You have me to lean, trust and depend on no matter how grey, happy or overwhelming the days may seem."
Now as I sign off from this post, I ask you all to grab a piece of paper and a pen and really just pause and reflect and then begin to write.
I am no longer just a certified blogger, but a letter writer as well. And if you too are interested in becoming a letter writer, you can sign up at http://www.moreloveletters.com/.