We live in a world of social isolation, yet at the same time people are interconnected like never before. I certainly discovered that this past week.
My wife’s birthday was nothing like originally planned. I had expected a weekend getaway in France. Out son was flying in for the occasion. Then the pandemic upended things.
No visit. No gatherings of more than two people, so my backup plan of a birthday party went by the wayside. With the restaurants closed I couldn’t even take her out for dinner.
So I threw a virtual party online, which was a great success. That was good, because my other plan didn’t work out the way I had hoped – but it would probably work better if you tried it.
As things were shutting down, about two weeks before the birthday, I thought it would be nice if my wife were to receive some birthday cards to make up for the fact we weren’t having a party. Let her know people were indeed thinking of her. So I sent out a few emails to friends asking if they could send a card.
I hadn’t counted on Canada Post deciding to hold on to the mail. On the big day I presented her with a dozen cards and she received about the same number of e-cards. I told her I knew there were more on the way.
She didn’t seem disappointed. Most years she might get four or five cards, so 12 was a nice increase. And at the online party that evening people kept asking if she had received their card.
Her birthday was Sunday. Monday’s mail brought no cards. Tuesday was another story.
When the doorbell rang I thought it was a neighbor. I didn’t expect it to be the postman.
I’m sure the cards would have fit in our mailbox, but I think he was excited. He said in ten years on the job he’d never seen anything like it. I don’t recall seeing him before – but he spoke in English, so he must have figured out that we aren’t German. Maybe it was the number of the cards.
When I got into the apartment I counted them. There were 51. And I know there are still some that haven’t arrived. My wife was blown away. And I got to thinking.
There are a lot of people stuck indoors these days. For the elderly especially, this time of social distancing and lockdown is hard. There is not much to brighten their day. You can only watch so much television – and the news is depressing.
But you could do something to improve that.
Think about your elderly acquaintances. Choose one, maybe someone who lives alone, and decide to brighten their day. Send an email to your friends, giving the person’s name and address and ask them to send a card. It doesn’t have to be a birthday – just a card of encouragement. Set a target, 10 cards, maybe 25. More if you think you can do that. How wide is your social circle?
E-cards don’t count. Many elderly people don’t know how to open them. Plus, there is something special about getting something in the mail. Anyone can send an e-card, but a physical card shows that you cared enough to make an investment in postage and the cost of the card (or the time to make one yourself).
Think of a lonely person, isolated by the pandemic, with a mailbox full of cards. Imagine their reaction!
So why not do that. Start organizing it today. Choose a recipient, organize your friends and get those cards in the mail.
And tell me about it. I think you will find that it is a rewarding experience. In this new world of self-isolation and social distancing, let us each do something to bring people together.