Friday, December 11, 2015

love letters => gratitude

if you know me at all, you probably know a couple basic things about me.
1) I cry a lot and talk/ramble even more (or maybe swap those?)
2) I'm into love. and not necessarily romantic love- though if we're instagram buddies you know all about my incredible Casey and how stoked I am to get to do life with someone I love so much, and who loves me so much. I just like any kind of love. my favorite is Love, the person/being/actual Savior of the world.
I'm also quite partial to love letters to other humans. but you know, if it's "love to watch the sunrise" or "love pizza" or "love a sick bass beat", I'm also into that kind of love.

A wonderful now-real-life-friend of mine (I'm claiming it forever, HB), Hannah Brencher, started this amazing nonprofit organization called More Love Letters (MLL). basically people just write other people "hey, human, you're incredible and loved and thanks for persevering" letters, and leave them places or send them in bundles and it is phenomenal.

so basically OHMYWORD am I all about some Hannah Brencher and her Monday Email Club and If You Find This Letter/If You Find This Email and MLL.

Every year, MLL hosts a time of celebrating and loving on wonderful people who need some loving-- they call it "12 Days of Love Letter Writing". During these 12 days, we participants flood inboxes with love letters. We obnoxiously post about it on every social media outlet. We write letters. We write blogs. We cry (or at least I do) at the beauty of it all.

This year, I signed up to share the mission & love of MLL with you all on my little corner of the internet, so here it is: today's Love Letter story & request. Please join me in writing a letter to Kevin. here's his story:


“Kevin is just an all-around wonderful human. He is always going out of his way to make other people feel loved and included. It doesn’t take long for any random stranger to add Kevin to their “top favorite people” list.” A close friends writes to us.

Recently Kevin’s girlfriend passed away suddenly due to a brain aneurism, she was only 32. It happened so fast that all their friends are struggling with ways to grieve and ways to heal, and of course Kevin is still going out of his way to make sure that everyone else is doing ok with the loss of their friend. Join us in showering Kevin with all the love that he consistently shows to everyone around him!

Kevin’s bundle
℅ Kayla L.
139 Ordale Boulevard
Pittsburgh PA 15228

I feel kinda weird sharing my exact letter for Kevin with you guys- it was oddly personal-feeling for me, so I'll let it stay in that little envelope for Kevin. however, I've also been in the midst of my #100daysofgratitude lately, so here's a combination of the two.

thank you, sweet Jesus, for this dear old world, and for Kevin. thank you for his heart, his vulnerability, and his resilience. thanks for giving him such a big, home-y heart that openly welcomes people in. thanks for teaching him about love. thanks for giving him so many chances to exercise it and therefore make such a large ripple of difference in this world.

and thank you, Kevin, for being fully Kevin. for being a mess when you need to be a mess. for being a light and a voice and a cathedral and all those wonderfully needed things. Kevin, you're incredible and I couldn't do what you do, but I applaud you so fiercely. Your determination, compassion, and attention to others matters so deeply and it inspires me. I don't know if you ever feel like you're not sure you're doing any good in this world or not- I feel like that a lot- but I can tell you, YOU ARE. You're doing a lot of good in this world and it matters and it's stretching so much farther than just yourself and your community. Thank you for being the kind of person who's willing to put in the kind of effort it takes to do that. Thank you for being so selfless that even in your own loss, pain, and heartache you are seeking out others to be there for them. That's something our world (and my life) needs more of- thank you for being one who started giving MORE when you saw the need.

thank you for impacting my life unknowingly.
funny how we humans always do that to each other.

and thank you, God, for putting him in my path so indirectly to influence me so directly. thank you for his story and how it fills my heart with hope. thank you for all the kinds of things you send me that also fill my heart with hope: sunrise, LoveQuirks, Christmas lights, "childrens' faces looking up, holding wonder like a cup", poetry, and hot tea. thank you for soft sweatshirts and giggles and surprising honors. 

thank you for my amazing college experience and the lifelong soul-friends you gave me there that have continued on. thank you specifically for Meg and how grandly she loves me, how well she knows me, and how lovingly she listens to me. I don't want to know what my life would look like without her in it. thank you for making us Anam Cara- "soul friends"- and keeping us bound to You.

thank you, too, for Casey- I think I never really thought I would fall in love like this. I think I never really thought I would have someone like him in my heart; I think I always told myself that he couldn't exist and that love couldn't be this grand in real life. thank you for teaching me otherwise. thank you for humiliating me everyday with how loud and raw and soft and refined and oxymoronical my love for Casey is. 

thank you for giving me a heart and a voice that are okay with loudly declaring how much I love certain people and things. thank you for making me the way you made me, even though I usually just see my own flaws and downfalls. thank you for knowing me so intimately and so much better than I know me. thank you for making my heart Yours- in the sense that it belongs to it and looks more like it each day. thank you for giving me so many tears and such a sensitive heart, even though that's sometimes super crappy because it means I cry too much about things that don't matter. 

thank you for Hannah Brencher, her words, and how they have changed my life. thank you for using her to show me that I am a writer and that it's okay to be completely fluent in tears. thank you for those five glorious hours I got to spend sipping lattes with her and for her big heart that now lets me claim her as a personal friend. thank you for all you did in her life to bring her to where she is now so that she could impact me, and millions of others, with her words and her love and her spunk.

thank you for the ability to write and blog, and for the people who read and listen and share and care.  thank you for the encouragers and teachers and mentors you give me at every turn, to keep me snuggled in right beside You. thank You, thank You, thank You. 

welcome to midnight.

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