You don't need to know what to say. You don't need to be a "good" writer. You don't need a basket stocked with beautiful cards (although mine is that one thing I'd take with me to a deserted island besides blueberries). You don't even need a whole two dollars. With a pen or a pencil, a piece of paper, an envelope and a stamp you can make someone feel loved and even be the highlight of their day.
Having hand written thousands of letters and cards in my life, I still find it's one of the easiest ways to show my love for friends and family. Sometimes I forget I'd even sent someone a card and then phone rings...
Your card made my day. The timing was perfect. I really needed that. Thank you.
I've heard a lot of people say they get too caught up in their own head to write from the heart, sometimes editing for an hour before throwing the letter away. Is that you? One sentence is enough. Tell them the quality you appreciate most in them, and that it makes a difference in your life. "You are so honest even when it's uncomfortable, and that gives me courage when I feel like suppressing my own voice."
Don't have a stamp? Walk your letter down the street to a friend. Don't have paper to write on? Tear off part of a brown shopping bag. Don't have an envelope? Use a page from an old calendar, fold the edges over, add some tape and Voi-la, a one-of-a-kind envelope. The only rule: Just write.
Hundreds of my most precious cards live stashed in boxes, holding a space for some week when I'm off basking in sunlight, on the coast, in a cabin, all by myself. I'll read them, I will revel in the astounding fortune of having such kind friends and family who write back to me, and I'll be thankful for those summer days when I was 5 years old and my mom took me into card stores to start living my art.
We've got a pretty cool postal service in America too. Many letters are delivered overnight, for 44 cents. (Or is it 47... one-sixth the cost of a cappuccino...). Whose day can you make tomorrow?
Jessica Rios, Founder of Leaning into Light, is a lifelong letter writer, a mother, freelance consultant and eternal fan of Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street. This deeply personal blog and our recorded talks and workshops are devoted to one of her great passions: illuminating the beauty of the human spirit.