This post is embarrassing, but only because of the timing. If I had done this First Time Friday earlier, it wouldn’t be so bad. But time has gone by — literally evaporated into the air — and in the end, writing about this now is better than some unknown time in the future.
Let me explain.
I’ve worked with the company The World Needs More Love Letters for the last six months. Our goal is to spread love around the world through handwritten letters.
Check us out, we’re awesome! http://www.moreloveletters.com/
Look, there I am!
One of the biggest campaigns we organize is the Love Letter Bundles, where we encourage as many people as possible to send a love letter to a specific person, showering him or her with kind words, love and inspiration.
I’ve been getting the email list of letter requests (found here: http://www.moreloveletters.com/the-love-letter-requests/) for months, but never actually sent a letter until today.
I started writing letters in the second grade, sending little notes to my grandma who lived one town over from me. And when my friends and I moved away to college, I sent letters to keep in contact. Over the years, I’ve sent a ton of letters, and frequent the post office.
Several people have told me how much they love my notes. Many have said that they came at the perfect time, when they least expected it, and that it made their day.
So why has it taken me so long to write a love letter to a stranger?
When I was in college, writing my thesis and going to class, it was easy to understand how I missed the Love Letter Bundle deadlines. But I’ve been home for over two months. No excuses.
I’ll admit that sometimes I don’t know what to say to strangers — I am by no means a good conversationalist. Some of the letter requests I struggle to relate to; I have no experience with the Armed Forces, nor have I had a personal connection of struggling with disease.
Beyond that, many of the people nominated for love letter bundles are mothers, fathers, sisters and friends. I have a mother, a father and friends I can relate to. So what difference is there? Again, no excuses.
Yesterday I decided that enough was enough. A change was in order. I dug around in my ottoman until I found the “every occasion” stationary I bought on sale last month, and sat down once and for all to pen a love letter to a complete stranger.
At first I didn’t know what to write.
I’ve never been good at complimenting other people, or even praising their work. Doing so is one of my biggest challenges, but I’m aware of it and working to change myself for the better. Along the way, making others feel loved and appreciated has gotten easier, but I wouldn’t say it’s natural for me to easily share with others the positive thoughts I have about them.
I scrolled through the current list of letter requests and found one I thought I could really speak to. I chose to write to this person over any of the others because I found her the easiest to relate to.
What I wrote was very general. I wished her well, explained that the bad days help us appreciate the good days and reaffirmed that she is loved. Lastly, I told her to always remember how she feels in this moment, as she reads through her bundle of letters.
I love decorating the envelopes with stickers!
I did it. I wrote my first love letter to a stranger.
And it felt good. It felt like I was making someone’s day.
I had always thought I needed to directly relate to those I communicate with. What I discovered is that it’s not necessary to find a direct point of connection to the recipient. Love translates across all differences.
The act of sending a love letter is the connection. It’s you saying, “Hello, you are loved and appreciated” and the recipient accepting that love. You don’t necessarily have to bond with someone before you spread love and happiness their way.
Now, I challenge you to write a love letter of your own, whether it be to someone you know or a total stranger.