Way back in May of this year I wrote a post about Jodi Ann Bickley, a young lady whose life mission is to change the world by writing inspiring letters to anyone around the world who needs cheering up, and contacts her website asking her to do so; her remarkable quest reminds us of the power of not only the hand-written word, but more importantly of the hard-hitting (and very positive) emotional wallop that a thoughtful hand-written letter or card has on those of us who are lucky enough to receive them. Her tiny enterprise has since grown and grown; in fact, it’s gotten to a point where she’s asked for (and successfully received) Kick-starter funding so she could hire assistants, pay for postage, writing paper, pens, etc. – all in all it’s a pretty impressive and awesome global endeavour, and one that easily takes up all of Jodi’s time, then some.
But what about the rest of us? Despite being busy with work, personal obligations, families, etc., is there a way that we too can have a similar effect on others by writing and sending hand-written notes? Of course there is; in fact, a friend of mine has done just that within her own inner-circle, and has experienced incredible personal gratification as a result. Here’s her story:
When we met for the very first time, this young lady told me that she’d recently made a commitment to spend one full month writing and sending one personalized card or letter to her long-lost friends every day, no excuses; in fact she even asked me to hold her accountable to her commitment by checking up on her each week to see how she was coming along. Being a new friend, I was humbled and grateful she asked for me to help keep her on track, which time has proven is clearly isn’t something she needed – she’s a hard working, thoughtful and very committed individual who really “walks her talk”, and always does what she says she will. So how’d she make out on this epic project?
I’m so happy to report that with one month having come and gone, she way over-exceeded her expectations! Not only did she complete writing and sending all 30 letters, she decided to continue the practice and keep on writing and sending cards to friends! She says that it makes her feel so good to re-connect with dear friends, and brighten their day “out of the blue” by letting them know (a) that she was thinking about them, and (b) how they’d touched her life… pretty cool, eh? It’s pretty inspiring to hear about all the different experiences and re-connections this experiment has yielded for her, and she beams when talking about how incredible, inspired and loved she feels reconnecting with her “long lost friends”. All this is enhanced even more by the overwhelming feelings of gratitude she gets back when the appreciative recipients of her letters and cards reply to tell her how much she means to them as well.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to read a few of her letters and they are nothing short of beautiful; and although each one is personalized, every note spills over with the unique kindness and emotion of the individual it’s addressed to. I know I would be truly inspired and grateful to receive such a lovely letter in the post myself – especially if it arrived amongst the usual piles of bills, renewal notices and junk mail that clutters my post box most days! For me it would be like a little voice saying “I care about you!” and “You are important to me!” in what is otherwise a chaotic, noisy world; in fact – for a few moments at least – it would be akin to a sitting in front of warm fire, wrapped in a flannel blanket, drinking hot chocolate… and who doesn’t love feeling like that?
So what’s the moral of this neat little story? That’s simple: Using nothing more that a pen, a card and a stamp, my friend – like Jodi Ann Bickley before her – has proven ANYONE can make a difference in somebody’s life, as long as they are prepared put a little time and effort in. But wait: There’s more –
Obviously, I’m pretty pleased to be able to call this young lady my friend, so when I recently noticed a change in her demeanour, I asked if everything was okay, and it turned out it wasn’t. She’d been having to deal with a few personal challenges of her own, and collectively they were taking a toll on her usual indomitable spirit – a sentiment I can certainly relate to after a rocky month or two of my own lately. Recognizing that that she – being someone who has give so much to other people through her card-writing project – was feeling bummed out, it only made sense to me that I honour her in the most fitting way: I’d make HER the recipient of an unexpected card that would extoll just how wonderful she is, and how important she is to so many people, like she has done for so many others… it just makes sense, right? And since it’s a private matter, I won’t disclose the contents; bit I will say that the card above is the one that will carry my special message to her.
So obviously I’ve got some work to do, and therefor must finish up this post. But before I go, I have a couple of questions for you: First off, can you think of anyone in your life who would benefit from the surprise of a nice letter or note arriving in the post to tell them how wonderful they are, and what they mean to you? And if you can, then my next question is “What are you going to do about it?” Just think of the huge dividends you will get in return for your meagre investment of a few dollars for a card, a stamp and a little of your time… I think you’ll agree with me when I say that it’s pretty great.
*Update – I filled the card yesterday with some personal thoughts for my friend, and must say became even more inspired at what she’s achieved! Handwriting (without the benefit of spacing, spell-check, “back space” or “delete” buttons at our disposal) is much harder than most of us can remember it being! Regardless, I’m sure she’ll forgive the couple of scribbles and directional arrows I added to try and make it all make sense, and in the end she, too, will feel a little of the warmth and magic that she so easily dispels to the rest of us – one handwritten letter at a time. Thanks K.L. for the inspiration.