Over the past two days my sweetie and I cleaned out our guest-bedroom-turned-junk-room. Our efforts resulted in two trips to the local non-profit thrift store, oodles of electronics that will be wiped clean and then recycled, and the uncovering and re-discovering of many personal mementos from years ago.
Among the various items found were a few cards from one of my very dear college friends. One card was a graduation card, in which my friend speculated on my soon-to-be-started “adult” life, and wished me only good things as I moved to a new-and-unknown city for a new-and-unknown job. Another card was a wedding card (sent several years after the graduation card), where my friend hoped my marriage would be a strong, stable, long, and enjoyable one.
As I read these notes, I briefly reflected back on the time I spent with this woman; and I was reminded of many important lessons she taught me, simply by the way she lived her life every day. Of all the things this spunky gal transmitted to me through her day-in/day-out actions, one of the most valuable learnings I took away from my time with her was the importance she placed on expressing care to people who were significant to her. Whenever anyone had an event to celebrate, a loss they were suffering, an important exam or key success achieved or depressing failure experienced – any event in life that was substantial to them – my friend went to the local bookstore, and took her time selecting a card that she felt was the most appropriate for the situation. She then penned a detailed, hand-written note, stating clearly and earnestly what she was thinking, and offering support, encouragement, and/or empathetic joy (as the situation merited). Her cards always held special meaning for me, as I got to see the time, effort, and genuine care she put into creating each one of them.
After we ended our higher-education experience and parted ways, I integrated her card-writing practice into my own life. I began penning notes to people who I care about, and who I think might need a lift, benefit from some love, or enjoy a laugh. I now take my time at the store, selecting “just the right card” for my intended recipient, and craft only earnest, heartfelt messages created specifically for the person I have in mind. While the people who receive my cards may or may not like/want/appreciate/care about the notes I write, I know how *I* feel as I create and send them. I’m truly grateful for my friend for ‘teaching’ me this way of being, of living.
Here’s to both old friends and new, those currently active in my life and those who have slipped away. May I learn from all of them.
P.S. As I was reflecting on my college experience, I thought of two other women who also taught me lessons I have since integrated into my life. If you’d like to read about those ladies, let me know; I’d be happy to share. Thinking about all of these people definitely puts a smile on my face. 🙂