You guys. I fell in love. Just this weekend. I mean I am already in love with someone – but this thing, these WORDS – I fell in love again.
I’m talking about a book. About a month ago, I stumbled across something on Instagram and was immediately intrigued. It was a picture of the book If You Find This Letter by Hannah Brencher. I’ll admit – I am absolutely one of those people who judges books by their cover – and this one got me. It looked handwritten on notebook paper, with swirly cursive and an explanation of her journey. I searched Amazon and Google to see what this was about – and then followed my search to her website – More Love Letters.
Do you ever get that feeling that you found something you were meant to do? Something you NEED to do? Something that makes you happy the minute you begin? That’s what I felt about this. More Love Letters is a site dedicated to writing love letters to strangers. Not anything like you see on Craigslist’s “Missed Connections” (although there’s a bit of the book dedicated to that) but more along the lines of “I see your struggle – it gets better. You matter. You are beautiful.” I was immediately sucked in. I bought the book, watched Hannah’s TED talk, and went to Target and bought as much stationary as I could find that said anything but “thank you.” I wanted to be a part of this movement.
And so I started writing. I wrote love letters to strangers. I’ve written and mailed letters to people I’ve never met – and will probably never meet – because this movement, this IDEA, spoke to my soul. I haven’t had many things in my life speak so loudly to me as this did. I’ve left letters in library books, in lockers at the yoga studio, and in booths at coffee shops. I left a couple at the airport in Denver yesterday because sometimes it’s nice to spread your love outside your home zip code.
I brought the book with me while I traveled this weekend and told myself I wouldn’t read it all in one sitting – because this book made me “feel all the feels.” But for those of you who devour books as quickly and often as I do, sometimes find it hard to slow down and not read it all at once. This was one of those books. I’d read a couple chapters when I first got it, and then put it down to begin writing. After I sat down with it over the weekend, I put it down only to eat dinner, take notes and wipe my tears. I told a few people that night that I have never fallen so hard or SO FAST for a book in a long time. I’m talking probably years. Sometimes a book finds you at just the right time in your life – and the words speak to you so LOUDLY that you can’t stop until it has ripped into your heart and made you cry tears that you didn’t know you needed to shed.
These tears were happy tears – EXCRUCIATINGLY happy tears. After reading everything that Hannah went through to get where she was, I knew this was something I wanted to continue to spread. This also made me want to smile so hard at everyone I knew – and everyone I had yet to meet. Smiling at someone while walking down the street or through the mall or into a yoga class can literally make someone’s day. How easy is that. And then finding a note addressed to you – whoever YOU are – can make people want to pay it forward with a smile. Or a letter. Or a hug.
“Do small things. On repeat. And think about others.”
I can’t even tell you how much I want to reread this book already. I want to meet Hannah – shake her hand, give her a hug, and thank her for opening my eyes to this. For making me realize just how simple a smile or a hug or a note can be to a person’s day or week or LIFE. Hannah knew she wanted to change the world – and while she sat at a coffee shop, writing a letter to someone she didn’t know to give them hope for a better tomorrow, she did.
Words are a funny thing. They can make you happy, sad, angry, upset, emotional, knowledgeable. Words can hurt people, make them stronger, make them laugh or even cry. Your words – your written words – can make someone realize that their life will get better. Maybe not today, or tomorrow. Maybe not even next week or month – but it WILL get better.
“I want to believe it all comes down to truth. And if you’ve ever loved someone in a way where it seems the oxygen is rushing out of the room when they walk in, then you know certain truths. Certain unchangeable truths about love: You want to give them everything in your world. And you want to give them everything outside of your orbit. And if they need the morning to come, you want to be that morning for them. And if they need the stars, you want to be those fragments of light too.And you just want to sit by them. And you just want to know they’re doing well. And you just want to witness their greatness, the moment they’re finally shining out. You want to be right there next to them for that. And you want that honor of being in their life.”
I want to write more… but I keep rambling about just how much I love this book. I never want to stop talking about this book and how happy it made me. I want to go home after work and start reading it again so I can feel all the feels and smile and cry and feel my heart grow ten times its’ size – Grinch style. And if you get the chance, please check out Hannah’s website so you can feel all the feels with me. And maybe send out a note to someone who needs a little extra love in their life. Even if you don’t know them.