Sunday, April 7, 2013
Lenten Love Letters: 40 Letters Later
I have to admit, I did not write forty letters on forty note cards and give them to forty people. What I did do was write 27 love letters on 27 note cards, 7 love letters via email, three directly onto my blog, and three in my prayers. I didn't write notes to some people I was hoping to write to, simply because each day inspiration came to write to someone, and those people weren't my inspiration any of the days. Some I sat down with the intention of writing to them, but couldn't find adequate words. Perhaps inspiration will strike soon and words that do justice will find their way to me and I'll get yet more love letters into the hands of those whom I love.
Interesting things happened with the writing of these letters.
A couple letters were not received in the spirit in which I intended, but in one case, understanding and healing was the beautiful result. Others were received with joy. Yet others with a touch of confusion.
Several people called with concern that perhaps my health had taken a turn for the worst and I was writing these letters to say things to them before it was too late. So I ask you - why wait to tell someone why you love them, what you value about them, and how important they have been in your life?
Sending out these cards, stating my love for people who know I love them as well as people whom I needed to tell I love but was unsure if they reciprocated, has been an exercise in extreme vulnerability. It was in many ways easier for my introverted self to hand a love letter to a complete stranger, which I did on one occasion, than it was for me to pour out my heart to people who like or love me. Writing these letters has taught me that vulnerability comes from a place of strength, not a place of weakness. In the end, opening up to vulnerability strengthened relationships in my life, as well as strengthening my confidence in myself.
The most profound result of these letters was the deeper connection I now feel with not only the people to whom I wrote the letters, but to everyone. Everyone. The lovely woman who bagged my groceries, the person who cut me off as I was driving to church this morning, the man in rags who greets me with a smile and friendly nod as he collects soda bottles from garbage bins at the shopping center I frequent - we are all connected, and all blessings to each other in one way or another.
Each letter, each connection, illustrated to me the necessity of walking in Jesus' footsteps and being a living love letter to every single person who enters our lives.