Good morning! Welcome to the Spend Less, Give More series here on Mugs Life. If you’re just joining us, I’ve been making suggestions over the past few days of different organizations to contribute to this Christmas season, encouraging giving gifts with a purpose. The first few organizations highlight supporting immediate basic physical needs: clean water (Charity:Water), food (to put it simply) Heifer International, and shoes and eyesight TOMs. Yesterday, the focus shifted a little bit with a spotlight on emotional needs and mental health with To Write Love On Her Arms. With all of these posts there’s been a push for monetary donations, but today is a little bit different. If you’ve got the money to buy a stamp, a pen, paper, envelope, and some kind words? The only thing else you need to give is a few minutes of your time! Today’s spotlight: More Love Letters.
It’s been less than a year since Hannah Brencher started sending bundles from The World Needs More Love Letters. Thanks to the I Heart Daily Newsletter in my inbox last week, I can say I’ve participated in this wonderful movement. Hannah‘s mom had written her letters for years, so like me, she already had a love for snail mail. It’s funny because the day I got that e-mail, I was in a rough place myself, and I thought “this is perfect” because for me: one of the best ways to push myself into the light when my love tank is running low, is to write to someone else in hopes of lifting their spirits. That’s what More Love Letters is all about. Back in 2010 Hannah living in NYC, was in a dark place herself, so she started penning letters to strangers she thought could use a boost of encouragement, and leaving them all over the city. After that she invited her blog readers to request a letter, if they were in need of one themselves. From there, More Love Letters became what it’s known as now – a global initiative. Hundreds of letters have been sent. You can sign up to join the team, where you’ll be emailed a request each month, you pen a love letter, mail it to the PO Box and a bundle of letters will be put together and sent to someone who needs a little love. One of the things I think is really cool about More Love Letters are the requests. People write in to request letters for a friend in need. The request could be for a teammate, relative, friend, fiance, coworker, people from so many parts of life that someone has recognized could use some light in their life. This was the request for Madeline, the day I got the I Heart Daily e-mail, which was encouraging participation in More Love Letter‘s “12 Days of Letter Writing.”
Madeline, due to depression and anxiety issues, left high school last year to homeschool herself. She has made some progress but has fallen behind in her studies and really needs some motivation to keep going even though she is falling behind even more every day. Her letter request writes, “It was this time last year when she left school and I know she is very prone to become depressed again in the winter time. I try to involve her in social activities as much as I can, as she will isolate herself otherwise, but I think a little love from a stranger could really help her outlook on life right now.’ Scratch out “stranger” — we are about to bless Madeline’s life with a whole lot of love letters. Help us in showing her how very wonderful and capable Madeline truly is.
(My letter for the bundle.)
You wanna know something a little crazy? I had just finished penning my letter for Madeline’s Bundle, around 10:30am last Friday morning. It was only about an hour later when I started seeing the news reports of the horrific tragedy taking place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut. The innocent beautiful children’s lives ending far too soon, and the brave teachers who’d lost their own protecting them. (Just to note – I’m not trying to loosely combine these two things, or breeze over such a significant event, that has forever changed so many people.) I had just finished expressing how, even though it’s hard to see it sometimes, how true the words from one of my favorite songs are: “This world can be ugly, but isn’t it beautiful?” (“There, There Katie” Jack’s Mannequin.) Seriously. It kind of caught me off guard because one of the first things that flashed through my mind, despite the shock of such a tragedy was: more love. We need more love. And I knew in my heart it wasn’t a coincidence I wrote the letter that morning. It was like God whispering in my ear, encouraging me to follow through knowing of course, when you spread love you can feel love.
And now in recent days, we’ve seen a community come together, we’ve seen people reaching out, we’ve seen love being spread. In the face of such tragedy, we’ve seen compassion. Like six year old Emilie Parker who’s dad has shared how Emilie constantly was coloring pictures, and writing notes to cheer up people around her whenever she saw someone looking down. Robbie Parker said himself: “(that the tragedy) not turn into something that defines us, but something that inspires us to be better, to be more compassionate and more humble people.”
So, today that’s what I’m encouraging you to do. More Love Letters is a simple, but extremely powerful way to contribute to making the world a better place. I know, that you know, someone on this planet who could use a little love. We could all use more love. Pick up that pen, and get writing. It’s a small gesture, that can make a world of difference and have such an impact on turning around someone’s day.
Here you can watch the TED Talk video of Hannah discussing More Love Letters:
Stay connected to the journey of More Love Letters: find them on Facebook, follow on Twitter, read the blog. Be sure to share with you friends too, that’s how a movement of love grows!