Two years ago, on (mostly) a whim, I launched The Letter Project on an October Monday. I had no idea what to expect. Would people even want letters from strangers? Would people agree that women need more ways to support one another?
Many of you know the story from here: it grew quickly. Furiously in fact. I had no idea that I’d still be going two years later. I had no idea we’d have sent thousands of letters to almost 40 countries.
I also had no idea that I’d hold so many stories of other women in my hands. To be honest, this was the hardest part at first. I’d wake up thinking about the eight-year-old in Montana who lost her family in a drunk driving accident. I’d wonder about the 15-year-old who was thinking about suicide, praying she knew her worth today.
I knew the world could be hard - especially on our girls - but I had no idea that so many people were struggling with issues so heavy your heart would break just reading about them.
I thought, at first, that I couldn’t go on. I couldn’t be a vessel carrying these stories, slowly sinking into the sea as my heart became heavier and heavier. I decided not to pursue becoming a therapist a few years ago because I was worried I wouldn’t be able to leave other people’s issues at the office; being far too sensitive for the role. Here I was, in a seemingly similar position, without the skills of a therapist to cope. What have I done!? I wondered.
But then the letters began pouring in. And, y’all, they haven’t stopped coming since that very first week. What they’ve taught me, day in and day out is this:
People are good.
People are so, so good.
If you give them the chance to do good, they’ll take it. If you make it accessible. If you meet them where they are. People will blow you away. They will surprise you with their kindness, generosity and grace. The gentle words people share in these letters will soothe even the most achy heart.
During the last two years, I have seen unending generosity pass through my hands - from letter writer to recipients. People have sent gifts and money to girls they don’t know. They have sent the most beautiful quotes. They have provided phone numbers for help lines and sometimes even their own cells, begging these girls to text them if they have nowhere else to turn. They have gotten on their knees and prayed for recipients - women they’ve never met and never will.
It’s no secret that this world can seem a little crazy, messy and exhausting. It can seem overwhelmingly scary, too. But as we wrap up 2018, I hope you can remember that deep down, people are good. Let’s meet one another where we are. Let’s assume we have good intentions, not bad. Let’s make eye contact, build one another up and see the humanity in every human.
Let’s do good, yes. But, even more importantly, let’s promise to see the good in the world around us - the joy that is already there, ready for the taking. Let’s breathe in the present moment, believing that little acts of kindness add up like drops in a bucket, eventually overflowing and making the world a little brighter.