I received an invitation to restart my subscription to the New Yorker magazine recently. As an enticement, it included a set of four post cards with New Yorker comics on the
front. I tossed the invite in the trash (not because I don’t like the magazine, but because they just end up stacking up on my floor unread because I can’t keep up with reading them). I then read the post cards, chuckled, and then started to toss them in a drawer to send out to someone “someday”. And then, I paused.
Last year, we had to clean out a rental house because the tenant had passed away from cancer. She had been a very kind woman, but her family was far away and it fell to us to pack her belongings. As I sorted through her books and art supplies, I felt some regret that I hadn’t spent more time with her because we seemed to have more in common than I had realized. In a nice basket, she had lots of interesting stationery that she had collected and as I brought the basket home, I felt sadness that she had never gotten a chance to send out those cards and to write more letters.
Fast forward, and here I was, blank post cards in hand. I wondered if my daughters would one day have to go through my desk drawers and would come across these post cards. Would they be sad because I had not taken thirty seconds to scribble a note, slap on a stamp, and reach out to someone in a small way? I shut the drawer and sat down at my desk and scanned through my Christmas card mailing list. Quickly, I scribbled out four addresses and a quick “thought you would find this funny” note. I dropped them in the mail on my next trip out and promptly forgot about them.
A week later, I received a text with a picture of the post card and a note “This is hilarious. Thanks for sharing!” Then I received an email that said, “Thanks so much for the post card. I was having a rough day and it came at such a great time.” My sense of pleasure soared.
I dug out the basket of stationery from our tenant. I’ve started to use it to send thank you notes. Plus, I’m adding to the basket as I travel and pick up interesting post cards. But I don’t let the stack sit and collect dust. Every week, I try to send out a card or a short note. I think our tenant would be greatly pleased to know that I’m using her someday stationery.