By Martha Delmore
Part of life as we know it involves the simple, routine task of picking up the mail every day or two. You grab the stack of mail out of the mailbox, and flip through it quickly: bill, bill, junk mail, another bill, wait...a note. Who is it from? Oh! I wasn't expecting anything from her! Certainly you'll set the other mail aside to open that unexpected treat that dropped into your hands first, and those words feel like a hug as your heart soaks up the thoughtfulness sent in that little handwritten card.
As wonderful as it is to receive an unexpected note in the mail, it isn't always easy to know what to write. Here are a couple tips when that bright, blank white inside of the card feels a bit overwhelming.
Wishing someone a happy birthday? List a few things you hope the next year is filled with for them. Sending a thank you? Let them know how whatever you are thanking them for made you feel. Just sending a Thinking of You type note? Let them know a few things you find especially wonderful about them. When this feels hard, take a moment and pause. What do you feel when you think of them? Perhaps gratitude, joy, protected, or loved come to mind. Where do you feel it in your body? Is there a rootedness you feel in your soul when you think of them? An excited anticipation in your chest? Perhaps you smile thinking of that person. Tell them!
Try to avoid broad statements and speak intentionally into who they are. Show your friend who they are in your eyes- what are a few of their most wonderful characteristics. Remind them of a sweet or funny shared memory. Consider the ways that your life is different than it would be if they were not part of it. Do they brighten your days with random texts, or is their friendship the kind that holds you across hundreds of miles? Does a hug from that person instantly feel like home, no matter where you are? Perhaps they are the person that can brighten your day with some witty banter. Tell them.
Don't Overthink It
Receiving a note from a loved one is such a treat, and simply knowing they were on your mind and that you created the space and took the time to write and send a note will likely make them feel incredibly loved. If you are really finding it tough to get words on the card, grab a piece of scratch paper and jot down 3 things you appreciate about them, 3 ways you feel when you are with them, and 3 memories that come to mind. What you end up writing doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to come from a place of kindness and affection.
Here is a basic outline:
I. Greeting with name/nickname
II. Reason for sending the note
a. What you value about the person
b. Ways your life is better or different because of them
c. A shared memory
d. Ways you are looking forward to connecting in the future
IV. Closing and signature
Still needing a bit more? Here are a few examples:
Thinking of you:
I just wanted you to know that you have been on my mind. It's felt like forever since we've seen each other, but even thinking about your contagious laughter brings a smile to my face. Thanks so much for always being a safe space. I can't wait until we can hit the trail in Moab next Spring. Love you! - Kelly
Happy Birthday, Joey! I am so glad that I get to be part of your life. Watching you follow your passions and create new things that spread joy to others is such a gift. I hope this year is filled with good IPAs, quiet hikes deep in the woods, and laughs around campfires. Love, Macey
Lea, I just wanted to send a quick note to tell you how sorry I am for your loss. I can't imagine how hard this season is, but know that I am aching with you and here if you need anything. You dad was a wonderful man who inspired those around him to be better, and I'm thankful that I got to know him. I'm thinking of you, and sending love your way. - Bree
Janae, thank you so much for watching our dog while we are gone. Leaving him for so long is hard, but knowing that he will get to enjoy treats by the fire, walks with Jake, and endless cuddles in bed makes it easier. His full body wags tell us how much he enjoys being with you--almost as much as I do. Thank you for loving us so well by loving him. - Ellie
Remember, at the end of the day a note is a way to connect--it is a way to reach out and take a loved one's hand across the distance. So, find a note card that strikes your fancy, and spread a little love today. You'll be glad you did, and so will they!