Since I was younger, I have saved everything. If I ever thought one day that I might enjoy seeing something, having something or reading something again, I saved it. So, I kept a lot of things growing up. The most common thing I kept was cards and letters I received from people.
For some reason, it just didn't feel right the throw away that piece of mail or paper vessel of sentiment that someone had gone to all the trouble of giving to me. Because, you see, I've always thought sending a card is the simplest powerful way to encourage someone. For that reason, I decided I was put on this earth to perpetuate the power that is the written word. I'm still trying to figure out what that responsibility means, but today, that looks like this very small greeting card business I maintain on the side of my full time job.
On April 8, I got to share this story to an audience of college students as part of Story Gathering's Story University hosted by Harding University's Mitchell Center for Leadership and Ministry. Some of you might not know the story of how I decided to pursue this business dream of mine. So, I decided to share a little of what I shared yesterday.
When I was a junior in college, I decided to create a greeting card business day. I was still trying to figure out my life, but I had decided what it looked like in 5 or 10 years. I was thinking of a business name, dreaming up designs, and brainstorming ways to encourage. I launched my business officially in Nov. 2015.
I decided to make all my cards blank inside for that writer who never seems to be able to fit everything they want to say on one side; for that artist who would rather use colors and lines instead of words; and for that person who cleverly thinks in 140 characters or less but writes big. My cards are simply a vessel to carry your encouragement in a pretty textured paper wonderfulness kind of way.
You may be thinking, man this girl thinks very highly of her cards. You're right! I love my cards, but really I just love what a card means.
I was recently interviewed by the student news paper at Harding. They do a great job, and I was really excited at the opportunity to spread my message there. The reporter, Luke asked me, "How is technology and its ease of use affecting what you do?" The short version of what I told him is that cards speak.
They speak louder than an email, text or Facebook message. The fact that ease would be associated with those methods of communication and not sending a card is exactly the reason I prefer to communicate in that manner. Don't get me wrong, it's not hard to send a card, but with technology at our fingertips, it's way more appealing to communicate digitally. It's quick. It's convenient. It's instant. It's polished. It has no unique personality — no defining features.
But a card...
A card speaks through the words on the paper. They come to life. They tell a story. What happened here when that ink smudged? Why is there a little yellow circle right there? They must be a mustard on a burger person rather than a mayo person or both. This person ate a burger while they were writing their card to me? I wonder what happened here when they had to write that word twice? It looks like they had to change pens here. I hate when that happens.
They speak. They speak a language that communicates, "I saw this and thought of you. I took time and wrote words to you. I wanted to give you a piece of myself through my own handwriting. I went to the trouble of finding a stamp for you, of licking an envelope for you. It's the best and worst taste in the history of mankind."
Words in a card have a personality. They tell a story a digital message can never tell. They have emotion. They have a mood. Not only that, but they capture a moment. A season of life. They're time capsules. Time capsules of encouragement and good.