Paper trail

I love letters.

Not actual letter-letters, although, okay, that too–but letters from people, letters to people. As long as I can remember, I’ve been writing letters.

My own paper trail through the years, I guess.

In elementary school, I had 13 ‘pen pals’. When email arrived in middle school, my best friend and I exchanged novels documenting the woes of teenage life in red italic font. I probably depleted entire forests with the stacks of notes I passed in high school. And still now, I love special occasions and holidays mostly because of the excuse to slather paper with sappy (and true!) sentiments.

So when I came across a blog this week (thanks Mast brothers. So well written, Ben.) formatted in ‘letter style’ (def: posts written like a letter to various prominent people in the author’s life), I thought, “WHAT. How come I haven’t been doing this?”

Because to me, letters are FUN. (Could this qualify as a hobby? Special skill on my resume? *Sigh*)

So for starters. For the heck of it. A letter from this weekend:

Dear Mom,

As I write, I’m surrounded by people. People in running gear. People wearing baseball caps. People in button down shirts. People in jackets sporting their favorite college, or with scarves to fit the season, with mittens in tow. People in long sleeves. People in fleece.

All people with coffee.

This is Starbucks on a Saturday. A buzzing hub of folks in slightly-more-laidback clothes than they wore yesterday.

And me, in my waitressing black, feeling like I’m half-in, half-out. I’m not quite a stranger anymore, but with this misfit identity of mine (i.e. that understands the woes of a farmer’s harvest 600 miles away), I don’t really belong either. I’m not totally convinced I ever will.

I have to remind myself that I’m not alone. That all these fleece-flanel-folks are as misfitted as I am, in some way or another.


You should remember that too!

I know you aren’t feeling well, and you haven’t been for what seems months and years and just-plain-and-simply-too-long, and I imagine that’s isolating. I imagine it’s as though the world is moving around you, and you’re noticing people’s sports coats and scarves as they’re noticing what you wish YOU could naturally fall into: life.

But phases of life pass like seasons, don’t they though? And before long, this season will brush aside for a new spring–full of healing and newfound energy–or maybe a new winter–a time of stillness, of acceptance, of peace. Whatever lies ahead, it will gently shimmy its way forward, in due time. I believe this! I really do.

Give yourself grace. Give yourself the room to cry and hurt and then, slowly and surely, heal. You are not losing. You are not weak. You are not headed down some dark path, or somehow less fit for this journey than anyone else. It’s just a season.

And we all experience them.

Ah. Do we ever.

I love you so much, Mom!

Now, I have to go serve some hungry people some Irish food. My life is bizarre sometimes.


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