So, letters have been a recurring theme for me these days. More specifically, how letters can bring hope.
One Million Lovely Letters, by Jodi Ann Bickley, was published on my birthday in 2014. I added it to my Amazon wishlist on May, 2015. I don’t even remember how I came across it, but it sat there for all these years until it recently popped up with a promotion. I don’t know about you, but I love a good book bargain! So I bought it. And it was perfect timing.
The book is about Jodi’s story. When she was only 22 years old, she contracted a serious brain infection that changed her life forever. She’d been a lively and active young woman, a poetry writer and performer, and then, suddenly, she couldn’t even walk anymore. Her recovery was long and tiring, and involved re-learning a lot of basic functions. After a particular bad day, when she considered giving everything up, she had this idea — writing letters. Lovely letters to remind people how special they are.
Jodi set up a website and an email address, encouraging people to tell her why they were having a tough time. In exchange, she’d send a handwritten lovely letter, reminding that person of how amazing they are. Also, that they’re not in it alone, even though, sometimes, it feels just like that. In a matter of days, she received hundreds of emails, from people all over the world, with the most diverse tales of sorrow, difficulty, and loss. She put some of the emails and her letters in the book, which only made me realize that we’re much more similar than we think. We’re much more connected than we think. We’re less alone than we think.
This book, as its title says, is absolutely lovely. Jodi’s story is one of heartbreak, but also one of hope. She’s such a beacon of light in this dark world, and what I loved the most about the book is that she reminds us that we all are. We’re all worthy, strong, wonderful, unique. We’re all loved. We’re all here.
The book left me with this urge to spread kindness, even when I don’t feel it myself — specially when I don’t feel it myself. As I mentioned in a previous post, sometimes I feel quite overwhelmed by the reality of the world right now. But Jodi’s story did for me exactly what her letters do for others — reminded me that everything is going to be okay. As she says so herself at some point, “Don’t think that you have to move mountains every day for it to be worth something; some days you just have to open your eyes.”
Another thing I loved to find out is that the project is still going strong! It turned 5 years this year, and Jodi has written over 4000 letters of the one million she set out for. You can visit her website to know what the project is all about and, perhaps, request a letter if you need one. She also has a TEDx Talk, that I totally recommend you watch.
This story inspired me. Somehow, it was just what I needed to read. It reminded me that it’s the little things that matter most. And that it’s easy to be lovely.
I’m certainly going to write someone a letter now!
“As we learn from experience, worries come to seem less significant. We can cope with whatever life throws at us because people are built to survive. The real killer is worry. If we can teach ourselves to stop worrying, we’ll be able to cope with anything else just fine.”Jodi
» Don’t forget to visit the One Million Lovely Letters website and watch Jodi’s TEDx Talk!
» Feeling inspired to write a letter? Start with the Write for Rights event!
» If you’d like to know what I’m reading and follow my reviews, you can find me on Goodreads and BookBub!
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