The Power of a Hand-Written Note
Each of us seeks to find meaning in life, to know somehow we have made a difference. While some seek to leave a legacy that can be measured, others’ legacies have no materialistic worth. I write notes. It’s a simple thing to do and I easily dismiss the value of this small act. The little thoughts are part of my attempt in seeking a purpose for my life. Although I love mountaintop experiences where God speaks loud and clear, often I’m happier wandering in the valley where whispers and small observances are more commonplace and inspiring.
The notes I write sometimes shine a little light into the world. Hand-written notes, not texting or emails, but actual pen on paper, words emerging. I acknowledge that texting and emails have a place in communication, but there is something much more connecting and powerful when thoughts and words flow through a body and appear on paper. It takes more time, there is no cut and paste, no spellcheck, no online searching for some
thing which seems perfect. It is love spilling out on to paper. It’s a gift to another person, a little legacy.
To be honest, most of my notes don’t really come totally from me. The words tumble around and out of my head and my hand writes down what comes. However — when I allow it to happen — what I write is an act of God’s love. It is a moment of the Holy Spirit praying and writing on behalf of others and myself.
My favorite notes are to people who might not be noticed. It’s not that they are invisible. Actually, they are usually working and residing in the public’s eye. They’re the everyday people taken for granted, not intentionally and we’re not being jerks, it’s that we don’t really think about them. They’re just there, doing their job, putting in time, bringing us food, ringing the register, leading a group, recounting the deposit, checking us in, and they give us a smile as we come and go.
These people impact our lives and they need to know it. Scott is an example of this.
A Note to Scott
My husband and I had been to a particular restaurant many times before and had good experiences. On a recent visit we were reminded that a restaurant is more than the quality of the food and service, it’s about the relationships between people. Something was ‘off’, the service was okay, the food was the same, everything should have been fine. But it wasn’t. We discussed what was different.
“You know,” I said, “Scott’s not here.”
We then realized that we hadn’t seen him the last couple of times that we’d been in and that there was definitely a downside to the place. We asked our waiter where Scott was, he replied, “We don’t know. He simply disappeared. Stopped coming in.”
How does that happen? Unless there is foul-play or someone is seriously ill, one doesn’t ‘disappear’ without people caring about you.
Ah, that’s my job. I care about you and I’m going to let you know. I wrote a note to Scott, care of the restaurant, telling him that the place wasn’t the same without him, that he was not only good at his job, but it was obvious that he loved it. That he was a blessing and made the place better by being there touching lives. That his presence mattered, he was missed, and was in our prayers.
Mail the note. Let it go. My job is done now the seed is sent on the wind to be planted and harvested by other hands.
We didn’t go to that restaurant for a while, but a few months later we tried it again. And Scott was there! When Scott came to our table, Richard says, “Hey, Scott, my wife sent you a note. Did you get it? We missed you when you weren’t here.”
Scott’s reaction was spontaneous, sincere and gracious. He got on his knees, literally on his knees and hugged me. Thanked me, over and over again. He cried. He cried through one of the nicest smiles that I’ve seen in a long time. He told me how it gave him courage to try again. Then he told some of his friends at the next table about the note that now sits on his mantel next to a momento of his late Mom. Scott shared that one of his friends said to him, “Wow, Scott! There will be people who say nice things about you — even to you —but there will be few who will actually take the time to write and tell you how much you mean.”
It was sweet and slightly uncomfortable, and yet…it was gratifying to reap a harvest of a note received. But, it wasn’t and isn’t about me, it is about the power of a little note that shone some light into someone else’s life.
It is one of the easiest and most meaningful things that one can do, write a note. The impact of sharing written words of appreciation, encouragement, compassion — the myriad of reasons of how and why people learn that they make a difference in the lives of others — may be exactly the act of shining love that someone needs today.
How to write a note:
1. Think of someone.
2. Why are you thinking of them?
3. Say a prayer about that.
4. Use any paper, any writing utensil.
5. Tell them why they’re on your mind.
5. Put in an envelope, add a stamp, put it in the mail.
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-16 (New Living Translation)