Yesterday, before my boys left, we stopped at Barnes & Noble. It was crowded with the remains of Holiday folks. I waited by the magazines while the boys looked for their books. I remembered years ago when I moved to Asheville how that store was my saving grace. When the winter hit hard that year I was stuck up on the mountain and my only outlet was to come into town to the bookstore. I had been stripped of all monetary means. A friend and I bought an old motel that took everything I had. She went off to work for the winter and I was left with two teenagers and a deep isolation that pushed my soul into a spiritual awakening.
The mountain taught me invaluable lessons. The motel endorsed those experiences. At the time I didn’t recognize how priceless those obstacles would become. I learned to trust my intuition. I was snowed in more than I could ever imagined. I spent time without electricity and water. And I knew not one soul.
My outlet was coming into town once a week if I could make it down the roads. I packed a bunch of Post It notes and typed up letters. I would sit in a hidden corner of the store and write inspirational notes to put in books and magazines. In the mental health books I would leave “You are magnificent. You are here to make the world brighter.” In the glamour magazines, especially those for teenagers, I would leave something along the lines of “You are more beautiful than any photo shopped girl here. You are here to make a world a better place.” And on and on I would go around and just post the little love notes around the store. It filled me up with joy.
The letters I called, “Love Note from the Universe” I would fold and place in the windshield of cars in the parking lot. Those were longer. And deeper. I would watch from the second floor of the store as people would grab them. Some would open them up and read them, always checking around to see if they saw anyone. Many times they were thrown on the grown or crumbled up in their car.
I had the time to do these things. I have lost my way with busyness the last few years working full time, raising small children, taking care of lives (especially mine). They aren’t excuses. It’s just the way it’s been. It’s a different journey now, but yesterday I ached to start again doing those things that touched the core of me: going to the homeless shelter and having coffee; taking books to the VA Hospital; gathering stories from all walks of life. I ached for a moment so deeply for those simple acts of kindness that my chest felt like it cracked open. I gasped for a bit of air and recognized my soul’s call. I know it well!
This new year I plan on being more present with humanity. I vow to write Love Notes to Humanity and share all the stories from around my world. We are united by the act of connections, feeling acknowledged, listening, and knowing we are not alone on this journey.
The other day I was getting in my car from the supermarket. It was drizzling. An elderly couple was in front of my car. He held the umbrella and was trying to get his partner into the car. It was sweet to witness. I wondered at that moment how many years they had been together. He actually kissed the top of her fragile hand when she got in and closed her door, getting a bit wet then slowly dragging his feet to come around to the driver’s side. And without words, their story became mine. Love Notes for Humanity. Their actions became the driven force to go home and be gentler, more loving, and accepting of whatever was to come with all the buzzing from the holidays. A few times this week I have returned to that elderly couple in my memories. I smile thinking of their lives. And I am blessed to have them now become part of mine.
You are part of mine by just being here. Never, for one moment, do I take that for granted. I love you. May you also begin to collect and create love notes in your life from all of humanity. We need more of that!