A great many letters come through the post office.
And very few of them are for me. So, I don’t spend much time in the post office. The lighting is also harsh and the people are hurried, both of which I tend to become when I’m there.
But this Monday, something did come for me. It was unexpected: a square letter on yellow paper from a friend 4,000 miles away.
I opened it in the post office. There was no urgent message, no breaking news. There was simply: Hello! I was thinking of you and I wanted you to know, here’s where my life is just now, love.
It wasn’t necessary. If my friend had never sent it, I’d have loved her just the same. But if life can be shaped by the things that are necessary, it can be made whole by the things that are unnecessary. The things we do between food and work and breath.
And there in the post office, I loved that letter. Loved it because it would have been so easy not to send it. So easy to take a meeting, run an errand, keep up, get ahead, be busy instead.
But here was this letter, a little bit of courage on yellow paper. For surely it takes courage to step out of the hurried, harsh mainstream and go off to a side tributary where nobody but you sets the pace and the priorities.
So, I left the post office reminded by a letter from 4,000 miles away that courage isn’t just bravado and cliff jumps.
It’s also the choices we make – which are often small and quiet – of how to spend our life between food and work and breath.