The bad news: I’m late with this entry and I feel all guilty about it! The good news? I have a fantastic reason. I’ve recently started a new job. Oh yes, I’ve shed my old skin that was growing saggy and gray, and crawled out of it like a restless caterpillar. If you couldn’t tell by my buoyant tone, I’m a bit tickled by the move. I’ll have more details to share on that with my next post, but in the meantime I have been so swept up in this (additional) transition that I find myself now playing catch up.
I have been meaning to write a mini-love letter post to this website team and its founder for several months now, but given what they are up to, April seems like the perfect time…
I’ve lamented the lost art of letter-writing on this here blog, and I’ve even written one or two love letters of my own. So when I heard about a site called The World Needs More Love Letters, of course I jumped right on.
Regardless of the fact that the “team” looks like it has a collective age of 24 (which may explain the untarnished empathy behind the project) this isn’t some site that compiles old letters written by dead souls, or posts gooey fanfare to tween heartthrobs. No, this little cheer-spreader actually enlists a small army of people like me (okay well, maybe people with more time on their hands than moi), who enjoy penning letters, to write to a specific person or group of people. Every month, a call is sent out to write something encouraging to, say, a woman in North Dakota who they heard is battling cancer. And the letters pour into their PO Box, which is where I assume they are screened, bundled and sent off to the intended recipient.
So basically, they ask people to write nice things to perfect strangers in faraway places. And people do it.
This month, they launched the Little Pencils Series, with the call for letters to the women of the Anchal Project, which provides Indian women who work in the commercial sex trade an escape route through alternative careers in textiles. And in May, somewhere in India, the founders of this young movement will receive a package of love letters from a couple hundred Americans, pouring out “love, encouragement and compassion.”
Now, to put all my cards on the table, I signed up months ago but haven’t actually written one love letter through this site yet. Why? Because, like you, I’m too busy. Too caught up in my own job change, my own whirlwind of a life, to sit down and write a letter to someone I don’t know, when I can scarcely find time to compose an email to my family or a blog entry once a week.
But. Do I then suppose that all the people who do manage to do this, to write one letter in any given month, have nothing but free time on their hands? Do I presume that they just all must live in 1952, when women just woke up, did some dusting, made a soufflé and then sat down to write letters while they listened to the radio?
The thing is, I’m pretty sure they probably live in this day and age and have stuff to do too. Kids, maybe. Jobs, spouses, probably. Lists. Bills. Chores. But they actually take that same love of love letters that I have, that same fondness for writing, that same warmth toward this idea, and they carve out 15 minutes a month to write a letter to a group of women in India, or an aunt in North Dakota, whom they will never meet. And they get to spend the rest of their month—perhaps while they are scrubbing their toilets or dropping their toddlers off at day care—imagining the tiny dose of faith their 15 minutes of scribbling delivered unto a struggling soul.
Would you write a love letter to a perfect stranger? And remember: I said yes, so if you say yes, ask yourself, would you actually?
And if you still say yes, prove it.