Radvent day 4: Sincerely
December 4, 2012
It’s way too often that a kind thought occurs to me about someone and I neglect to pass it along to them. So I’m trying to do more simple note-writing when the mood strikes me instead of always waiting until later. My friend Dusty writes a note to someone every day. Pen on paper, black on white, stamp included. How many of you, like me, have boxes of cards and stationery and envelopes and letterhead near your desk? Stacks of blank pages that have most likely been there for years. Purchased with the best of intentions, or gifted to us and treasured. Stop saving those cards! Share them with those who deserve to enjoy them too.
When I finally sit down to pen some notes, the act of writing humbles me and becomes a physical manifestation of my gratitude. Choosing a pen, selecting the perfect card for the recipient, and peeling back the stamp delights me. I think about the good things that have happened to me because of the relationships I’ve nurtured, and realize that writing the note may be more for me than for the person it’s addressed to.
Neat ways to leave a nice note: Buy a dry erase marker–you can write with it on so many surfaces. Bathroom mirror, windows, formica, file cabinets, shower doors. â¤ Draw a child’s initial on a balloon and blow it up for them. â¤ Jot a note to a friend on top of a stack of printable bookplates (there are tons available for free online, but I love these) and gift them inside an enjoyable book you are finished with. â¤ Draw it in frosting on a cookie. â¤ Mod Podge it to a glass votive holder and drop a holiday candle inside. â¤ Don’t tell her, tell her mom. Send a card to a friend’s mother sharing what you love about your pal. â¤ Write it with a Sharpie on a salt dough ornament. â¤ Post it on Instagram! â¤ Write a one-paragraph book review and stick it between the pages before you return a good library book â¤
Writing with sincerity:
Let someone know how they’ve made a difference to you.
Sending a card is always the standard of polite correspondence, but it’s okay to set a smaller goal if you’re more likely to achieve it. Tweet form is good–people like getting Twitter mentions, and of course then your proclamation of partiality for that person will be recorded in the Library of Congress. E-mail is good because then that person can star the message and re-read it when they really need to hear it (I can’t be the only person who does this).
Dedicate a space for storing your cards, stamps, and special pens.
I keep mine in a vintage box I found in my dad’s office that I spray painted green. Find a pretty box and fill it with a fancy package of pens that you love to use (be sure to test before you buy!), stationery, and a small envelope of stamps. Begin compiling a list of addresses from friends and family to keep on hand. In ours, I also have watercolors and I like to send cards that Alice painted.
Send a card to a friend’s office.
Reading something besides business correspondence will be a welcome distraction.
One day several months ago, I was working at CAMP and starting to come to the realization that the space would have to close. I had a piece of printer paper in front of me that was covered in scrawled numbers, adding totals together and projecting tenant income for the next three months. I had PayPal and Stripe and my bank account open in different windows on my computer, and no matter how many times I clicked between them or scribbled more numbers, nothing was adding up to profitability. I weighed all the options in my mind for weeks–do I close Princess Lasertron and fire my employees? Do I just close CAMP? Do I need to do both and get another job? The nights spent laying on that tweed couch, looking up at the warm wooden rafters, smelling the scent of snacks brought in by local bakeries and coffee made by late-night tenants hours earlier, the nights I spent worrying and asking the world what I should do. It was one of the worst places I’d been in a long time. There didn’t seem to be a right answer or a good solution.
Then, out of the blue, I received a typed letter from my grandma and grandpa. They live in Florida and they stay up here at the lake house every summer. I’ve always felt very close to them and admired their focus and experience in business, and their loving relationship. Anyway. I love them. And I got this letter I did not expect. It was a brief, concise, one-page typed letter telling me how proud they were of me and how impressed they were with my growth as a woman and an entrepreneur. They talked about how they had been where I am, and recognized that everyone sees the good days, but the bad days can come just as readily. Whether I keep the bad days to myself or reach out for help, my grandparents wrote to me that they were proud of me, supportive of me, and understanding of the pressure.
When I read that letter, I burst into tears immediately (to the horror and anxiety of my friend Eric who was working late that day with me). I’ve received many unforgettable letters and kind sentiments in cards, but hearing from someone who knew the right thing to say couldn’t have come at a better time.
How will you share a sincere thought with a friend today? Share your reactions and comments below, and of course, if you’re writing your own response, I would love to read the link.