On Monday afternoon, between school and musical practice, I stopped in the high school office for my once daily check in. I anticipated some junk mail – the stuff that is addressed to Cindy Minnich or Current English Teacher* – but not the handwritten, personally addressed card envelope, one with a stamp on it.
I have had several notes in my mailbox – both at home and at school – of late. I have collected a stack of Christmas and sympathy cards and have felt touched by all of them. The cards are proof that we have been remembered.
But the ones with more than a signature are the ones I linger over. They have stories. They tell of connections.
And sometimes they tell of connections that could have been.
That’s what the card I found in my mailbox was about. It was from someone who lives far from me who has never had the good fortune to have met my father, but wanted to tell me that my father and I were on his mind. It was a brief note, but it meant so much. It was like being hugged across the miles while reading it.
I needed it on that first day back from break.
I have thought a lot about how different handwritten letters and notes are from digital messages a lot over the past week. I’m embarrassed to say that I have taught students about the power of letter writing without necessarily following through on my own advice. I’m more apt to send a quick message online before I put the effort into dropping a card in the mail. I have stationary collected in my desk and those Richard Feynman stamps I found (which now require extra postage to even use) that haven’t been used at all. I start letters all the time and then just never finish them.
I need to do better.
Especially since I know the effect that it can have.
Everyone deserves to feel that warmth and kindness of a personal note.
I need to slow down and take the time to do this more often. It doesn’t take very many words to say something that will make someone’s day.
As I said, so many cards have come my way lately – and I have certainly been moved by them. This one, I think, stopped me in my tracks because it could have so easily been sent as a quick message across social media.
But it wasn’t.
So thank you.
That made all the difference on that Monday afternoon.
*I got one of those Cindy Minnich or Current English Teacher letters sent to the house once. It made me wonder what kind of marketing department had done research to decide that my husband had plans to replace me and that he further had plans to find another English Teacher. Hmmmm…