Old greeting cards, birthday cards, Christmas cards, anniversary cards; any type of card – you name it. They can be put to use.
“You know, Pastor, everyone in our town knows that you don’t ever throw cards away.”
Those are the words of the local card lady – an endearing term for the woman who never forgets birthdays and anniversaries and special occasions. She marks each of our special events in life with cards.
Homemade cards recycled from many in the town.
Homemade cards that have been gifted once and remade to be gifted again.
Homemade cards to brighten someone’s day.
As someone who loves letters and snail mail, I appreciate the effort, time, and care that go into making the homemade cards. I love seeing her name on the return label. I love the surprise in opening the card and seeing the words and pictures taken from different cards. I love the thought and care that goes into each card.
I’ve come to find out I’m not the only one. It was during confirmation class with the middle school students that my husband was talking with the youth about volunteers and what all goes into preparing for a Sunday morning worship when they mentioned the woman who coordinates the volunteers week after week. She happens to be the same woman who sends the thoughtful, homemade cards. One of the youth said, “Isn’t she the one who always sends me a birthday card. Every year she remembers me.”
Yes, that’s the same woman.
A homemade, recycled birthday card tells someone that they are remembered. That they are known. That they are loved.
When I spend so much time online updating my status, sharing pictures, scrolling, reading the most up-to-date news, I forget the power of a handmade, handwritten note. The power of taking the time to focus on one person at a time. The power in remembering special moments in the lives of neighbors. The power of connecting.
And then I receive my birthday card made from recycled cards and I give thanks that someone took the time to acknowledge me.
It’s just one card. She’s just one woman. But with each card I’m reminded that community is best experienced when we take the time to give thanks for the people in our lives – wishing them happy birthday, blessing them on anniversaries, welcoming new babies, grieving with those who have lost a loved one.
It’s just one card.
But it’s one card and one note to share God’s love with others. One recycled card at a time.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. Her website is http://www.kimberlyknowlezeller.com