Five Letters

galit breen quote

I tiptoe onto the porch. Sun slices morning sky.  It’s welcome.

I settle within cool air, hot coffee, and still silence.

The wooden, slatted floor is rough and cold beneath my bare feet. A bird sings her good mornings. A cyclist speeds by.

And I sit. My laptop is by my side, unopened. My unfinished work can wait.

Instead, I reach for a thin plastic bag filled with scrapbooking paper I (sadly) haven’t looked at for years. But that this morning, I cut it to size, to fit a new story I’d like to tell.

I run my fingertips over greens, purples, and oranges in muted tones. I note how soft the paper is – delicate even – and my own nails’ lack of shine, and need of polish. This, too, can wait.

I click open my pen and begin to write. It feels good to free my thoughts in this way. By ink, slowly, purposefully.

I’m writing a letter to a friend, one of five I’ll write this month.

By heart, I know that gifting myself the time and effort of friendship is key to my balance, my happiness, and my peace.

But by mind, it’s sometimes hard to pull myself away from my work and my family and my ways. There are so many things that need to be shined in my home.

Several years ago, I made the conscious decision to friend-focus in the way I tell my children to. I texted and invited and made cookies. I complimented and emailed and recommended books. I changed the way I viewed my friendships, looking for their goodness, zooming in on their light.

But I’ve been ignoring a small gem. Its shine is important, so I’m stepping into it now.

I’ve been missing the chance to tell my friends how I see them. Their goodness and their light, the way they make me feel, that they’re noticed.

So this month, I’m trying something new. I’m writing letters to five women whose friendship lifts me. I’m ridiculously lucky in that when I was deciding who to write to this month, my list of choices was long, and inspiring.

So in the still of this morning – as the sun lights and my family sleeps and my neighbors run – I’m focusing out, in order to focus in.

I leave myself (mostly) out of the letters, not writing about my thoughts or my memories or my details.

Instead, I write what I see in them. The light they offer; the gifts they give.

I pen who they are through my eyes.

Your laugh fills the space between earth and sky.

You hand out second chances, without second thoughts.

People’s shoulders relax around you.

Oh how you make people laugh until their cheeks and their lips and their stomachs hurt in appreciation.

You listen in the way that makes people feel heard.

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We all deserve to be seen in our most flattering lights. We also all deserve the chance to notice others in this well lit way.

What do you think?

Five Letters

Galit Breen is the bestselling author of Kindness Wins, a simple guide to teaching your child to be kind online; the TEDx Talk, “Raising a digital kid without having been one”; the online course Raise Your Digital Kid™; and the Facebook group The Savvy Parents Club. She believes you can get your child a phone and still create a grass-beneath-their-bare-feet childhood for them. Galit’s writing has been featured on The Huffington Post; The Washington Post; Buzzfeed; TIME; and more. She liv ... More

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6 comments

  1. ohmymarta says:

    Oh I love this. I remember sending letters to friends in camp. It was so wonderful to receive a hand written letter. I really wish people still did it!

  2. Elaine says:

    It really is becoming a lost art, isn’t it? ACTUALLY writing. And especially letters. I need to do this too. Thank you for the reminder… xo

  3. KaelinRae says:

    This is such great advice and an amazing read. 🙂

  4. Good LORD, is this good advice. (And isn’t it funny how the simplest- and most wonderful- things smack us upside the head?)

  5. ilenemevans says:

    This. Amazing. I need to write some letters, especially moving so far away from some of the friends that have given me their light. This isn’t going on my "do to" list but on my "want to do need to do" list. Because it’s just that important.

  6. Alison Lee says:

    What a lovely way to recognize the beauty in people, Galit.
    I would love to do the same.

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