Healing Through Connection

Oct 2023

We hope this message finds you happy and well and enjoying this Fall season.  
In the coming weeks, life will get busy for many of us - with the holidays come get-togethers, parties, and time with family friends, and loved ones. The busyness of the season, for some, is what makes it all worth it. Many have tons of family, friends and loved ones and get a charge out of the togetherness and look forward to it every year. 
But for some, we're heading into one of the loneliest times of the year. Perhaps it used to be that this was a time of togetherness, love, family, and friends...but now, for various reasons, many find themselves alone. 
The other day I was at our local grocery store. I was in a hurry to get to a meeting and just needed a single item. I hurried past a woman and noticed her shuffling slowly. She leaned on her cart for balance. She caught my attention for some reason but I hurried on. I found my item after some looking, grabbed it, and began walking toward the checkout. 
As I hurried, I caught another glance of this same woman. Now she was sitting in the cafe section of the store, eating an ice cream cone, alone, her empty cart next to her.  Another woman, roughly the same age I assume, sat two tables over doing the same thing. I slowed my pace and noticed an identical look on their faces...contentment in eating an ice cream cone, but also the unmistakable look of loneliness. I don't know their individual situations, life circumstances, family relationships, or if they were even lonely. Maybe this was a daily, weekly, or monthly ritual and time to themselves. Perhaps this ritual was shared with a spouse at some point, who was either unable to come or had passed away. I wanted to go talk to them, ask them about their lives, and say hello...but I didn't. I thought about them for a while after I left and still think about them now. Maybe I should have said hello. Maybe I need to slow down so I'm not running every which way with no time to spare. I think there are a lot of things in my life I should have done, but didn't. 
We know many reading this are lonely and we see you. We talk about you and make decisions as a company to help push forward with our mission of connection with the purpose of helping alleviate loneliness. It may sound strange, and maybe I am strange (but I know I am not alone in this)...stories and their characters often become our friends. Whether it is Harry Potter, Elizabeth Bennett, Jack Reacher, Joe March, Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee...well the list can go on. We hope Audrey, Charlie, Lily, Matthew, Adelaide, William, Norah, and James can be there for you (these are characters from our stories). Or perhaps the anticipation and excitement of getting another letter, or being part of our Facebook community is helpful in alleviating your loneliness. We will always try to foster community and connection. As we grow, we have many ideas of things we can do to help others connect through and with The Flower Letters. 
The experience in the grocery store made me think of how lonely our world has become. The movement away from physical get-togethers to virtual meetings, digital interactions through social media (which can be awesome sometimes), and other less personal interactions I feel has made us much more lonely, less hopeful, and less likely to feel joy. 
At one time or another, we have all felt or will feel lonely. It is not a great feeling. It may be a moment, day or week. For many, it can be and has been years. 
So heading into this holiday season, we would like to issue an invitation:
If there is a family member, friend, loved one, or acquaintance in a situation that could cause them to feel lonely, take a moment and reach out to them. Do it in your own way, but let them know you're thinking about them. Sometimes the smallest gesture, for some, is enough to energize them through the next day. A kind word, note, phone call, text message - these small acts can make a big difference for those we reach out to...but also for you.  One of my favorite poems is A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief  by James Montgomery. Originally intended as a Christmas poem, it was set to music and can be found in Christian hymnals around the world. 
I especially love the 5th verse:
Stript, wounded, beaten nigh to death,
I found him by the highway side.
I roused his pulse, brought back his breath,
Revived his spirit, and supplied
Wine, oil, refreshment—he was healed.
I had myself a wound concealed,
But from that hour forgot the smart,
And peace bound up my broken heart.
There is and can be healing on both ends of kindness and love shown. Whatever end you find yourself on, we wish you joy, relief, and connection in the coming weeks and months of this holiday season.