The other day I was rushing from point A to point B. I had just finished class at one school and was zooming to get to my next one. I looked at my watch, calculating, thinking.
Was there time for me to pick up a cup of tea to take with me?
It was close. Probably better to keep going.
But that voice inside kept nagging at me. “Go get a tea!”
So I did. I listened, stopped, got my tea and headed to class.
That’s when I saw it.
As I cut through the dining hall, really kicking my step up a notch, I noticed a special set-up on a table. Even with my rushing, it was hard to miss.
Purple box, black marker letters: “Holiday Cards for Soldiers.” And spread out on the table? Blank cards, envelopes, markers, paints, crayons, charcoals, stamps, glue, stickers, scissors… all free to use.
I smiled. What an amazing idea! I loved that everything was laid out. No one was sitting there to make sure the supplies weren’t stolen. It was understood. All anyone needed to do was take the time to make the card, stick it in the box and voila! Soldiers would receive holiday greetings from strangers.
I could see the box carried plenty of cards already.
I knew I had to create one. But now I was really, really running low on time. I debated for about a millisecond, but the answer was obvious from the start.
I dropped my three bags down to the floor, placed the tea on the table, and got to work.
Though I do love artsy projects, I have to admit this card was looking rather elementary schoolish—and I mean maybe my second or third grade years. I didn’t have the time to make it gorgeous, but I had the time to write—what I hope was—an inspirational message with a thoughtful thanks.
As I was putting on the final touches, a student I didn’t know stopped at the table. She looked at my card. “That looks great!” She said. (Obviously a sweet, sweet girl!) She could sense I was in a rush and added, “That’s nice you stopped to make one. I’m going to make one too!”
“How can you not?” I asked.
We smiled, shared stamps, passed some stickers back and forth, bonding over our crafty cards—two strangers helping each other, to make messages for strangers.
I sealed the envelope, placed it in the box and grabbed my bags ready to hustle, hustle, hustle to class.
I almost forgot the tea.
I made it to class—with a minute to spare! My heart was racing, I was sweating, but I was there. As I put the tea down, a student commented that our classroom felt too hot for tea.
“It is hot in here, but it was worth stopping! There is a table set up where you can make cards to send to the troops! I had to stop! I hope you will too.” My students smiled and a few nodded; I got the sense some already had.
Thanks for the nudge to get me to that table. And thank you for the reminder that there is always time to share kind words, even with people miles away, even with perfect strangers—especially if those strangers happen to be soldiers far from home, family and friends.
Universe, I hope the card finds its way to someone who really needs it. I hope the receiver smiles when reading it, the same way I did when I was making it.
Thank you for the opportunity.