Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series on activities that help you prepare spiritually for Easter.
I come from a long line of card-senders. Right up until my grandma died, she was mailing out birthday cards to everyone who was possibly related to her. My mama is the kind of woman who practices her penmanship while she’s talking on the phone and never misses an opportunity to send a holiday card – even for St. Patrick’s Day, and we’re not Irish.
Me? I do OK, but only in spurts. If you have a birthday in January or February, you’re likely to get a card from me. Later in the year, when I’ve lost interest in my pretty calendar, you’ve got more like a 50-50 shot.
But a few years ago I decided to write a letter every day for the 40 days leading up to Easter. My plan was to offer a bit of encouragement, and hopefully a smile, to people who wouldn’t normally expect to hear from me.
I worried at first if I’d have enough people to write to, but I asked friends and friends of friends for suggestions. By the end I mailed out between 60 and 70 letters. There was the woman who had a double lung transplant and the recent widower. The 100-year-old celebrating her birthday and the lady at church who just always helps everyone else. Then there was the 95-year-old man with Alzheimer’s who enjoys two things each day: watching the birds and checking the mail. (I wrote to him twice. How could I not?)
Nomination after nomination told of another person who had made a difference in the lives of others or a person who could use a kind word or a prayer. Each one felt like an introduction, and each one seemed to bring its own lesson:
• There’s never a perfect time to write or reach out to someone. I imagined lighting a candle and sitting in the stillness of a quiet morning to work on my project. In reality, I often had to write while my toddler played his drum or wrestled with his brother.
• Even if you don’t have the right words, tell someone you care. I wrote a card to a friend who had a miscarriage, and my words just didn’t feel adequate. I started to the throw the card away until I realized she didn’t need perfection, or for me to solve her grief. She needed to know I was thinking of her and praying for God to send comfort.
• Character is noticed. Even when you intend for your acts of kindness to be quiet or hidden, people still see the goodness in you. I know, because your friends told me so.
Sure, there were times when I got behind and overwhelmed, but I’m glad I met so many people on my way to Easter. Their stories were just what I needed to refresh my soul. I’m sure the pace will slow, but I don’t expect the project to ever end.