Monday, February 11, 2013

Keeping the Enthusiasm Going - Entry #29

How time flies!  I am fast approaching the eight-month mark of my Writing Project.  Letter/note number 264 has just been mailed.  It seems like only yesterday, when the weather was mild and in the low 70’s (as opposed to this week’s low 30’s and two feet of snow), that my first piece of correspondence was deposited with the U.S. Postal Service.

I do see light at the end of the tunnel—May 25, 2013 is the end date—but sometimes my enthusiasm has waivered.  Deciding who will receive a notecard and figuring out what I will say that doesn’t sound pretentious or silly can be taxing on, what Agatha Christie’s sleuth Hercule Poirot would say, “those little gray cells.”  However, whenever I have difficulty mustering the necessary zeal to forge ahead I look back at some of the notes I have been sent.  First, and foremost, was the card I received from John Kralik, author of 365 Thank Yous:  The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life, and the inspiration for my year-long writing project.  Among the thoughts he wrote were:
Do not be discouraged.  There will be down days.  Life throws us fresh challenges all the time.  But in the end you will have experienced something special you would not have missed.

Kralik’s words refer to the overall demands, the ups and downs, we experience through our everyday existence.  I also interpreted the words in his correspondence as a quick pep talk to continue on course with my stated goal.   I found his last sentence the most important and it has been reinforced through the responses that have popped up in my email in-box, in cards that have arrived at my doorstep, and heartfelt phone calls people have made to me. 
WOW, I just got a wonderful letter from you!!  Thank you for the thank you!!  It is letters like yours that make it all worth while.  Hope to see you again soon and hope you and your family are well!!!!

“Professional colleagues.”  This is the designation etched along most names on the spreadsheet I created, which chronicles my letter writing output (yes, I have a record of every piece of correspondence I have mailed).  The appreciative email, among many I have been sent, all with the same earnest tone, indicated how a small gesture like a handwritten note can have such a positive effect on someone.  This was not an isolated case.
There is something very unique and special about noticing and appreciating those in our lives…It was a thrill to receive your hand-written, lengthy note.

We say thank you many, many times to colleagues.  We acknowledge each other.  But something more tangible such as a thoughtful notecard truly demonstrates the worth and value we place on someone.  It also provides a significant boost to their self-worth and self-esteem.

Other reactions have centered on the very fact that a handwritten note is so out-of-the-norm.
I received your Christmas card today.  It’s so rare for my generation to receive cards by mail – much less from overseas – a real pleasure!

How nice to get your note.  Very pre-Internet/email.  No one writes letters anymore and I kinda miss that.

All of these responses have kept me on track when I find it difficult to sit down on my straight back chair, fountain pen in hand, and compose a letter or card to one of the remaining 365.  The handwritten correspondence may be categorized as more retro, but there is nothing old-fashioned about the sentiment embedded in each letter or card I craft or, I’m sure, the notes I receive in return. 

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