Confession: I’m really bad at correspondence, whether it’s instant messaging, email or snail mail (unless, of course, I’m on holiday and have no choice but to send postcards before flying home). So along with an “I’ve been meaning to send this forever” line, I’ve been including a little wish in my outgoing mail: that it’ll land on the recipient’s doorstep on a day when she can use a little surprise.
The magical thing is, some of those cards did – and hearing about it is my favourite part.
Sometimes it’s as simple as the recipient posting a photo on Facebook saying, “I haven’t been checking my mail lately but today is a good day to get this one.” Sometimes it’s extra special.
One card went out to a friend who was moving back to Canada in a few weeks. On this occasion I actually had a deadline for mailing my cards (postal rates were about to go up so my stamps were going to ‘expire’), so I decided to send the card to Canada to welcome her home. A couple of months later, I received a thank you card in return (yay, surprise mail!). She wrote that my card “couldn’t have arrived at a better time” and described the morning she’d been having before she opened that envelope. I didn’t really think of my card as an act of kindness (I just love sending snail mail!) but that’s what it was to her, on a rough day when kindness was exactly what she needed.
Another card went to one of my oldest and closest friends, who had not passed the bar exams. I lettered ‘DETOUR!’ on the card – a word that resonated with me as well. I wrote that it wasn’t her time to shine yet, “but when that time comes… BOOM! Everyone better wear shades!” Apparently that line made her cry! (Ooops.) When she sent me a photo of the card (and then posted it on Instagram) I could tell she was truly moved and encouraged. Mission accomplished.
I woke up the other day, still unwell after presumably catching a virus last week, to a string of messages from another very dear friend. We had both gone through breakups and bouts of depression in the last year, so I had sent her a card on which I stamped my favourite Doctor Who quote:
The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things but vice versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant.
The card, bless the Philippine postal office, had arrived on her ex’s birthday. “It was a very good quote for a bad day,” she said. “Thank you so much.”
It’s amazing what a piece of paper can do. I didn’t set out to bless these friends, but I unwittingly did and their heartwarming messages have blessed me back.
If you love sending snail mail, I hope this inspires you to keep mailing those magical envelopes!