Unexpected Joy in a Little Blue Envelope

The last month or so I’ve been feeling exhausted.  Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, all the personal adverbs … exhausted.  And I know I’m not alone.

Although I do my best to go through my days singing Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” to my cats and dog (“I get knocked down, but I get up again…”), the getting up is getting slower and more difficult each day.  And today was grey and dismal, and just one of those days when the cats were sniffing me for signs of life, and the dog gave up on trying to get me to the car.

And then I checked the mail, and the sight of a little blue envelope with my name on it lit up my face like Broadway.

One of the best things to come out of this past year is that I have found a wonderful community of teacher-writers through Jen Laffin’s Teach Write.

These friends — and they are friends — are spread out around the globe, but we get together via Zoom to write and brainstorm together at sessions like Time to Write and Wake Up and Write.  Outside of those sessions, it’s not unusual for us to reach out to each other via text, Facebook Messenger, email, and — yes — snailmail, like tangible blue envelopes that arrive as complete surprises on the days we seem to need them the most.

Besides reading the fun message about my ever-changing names on Zoom (there are two Karens, so I mix up my moniker regularly) and the other kind words contained within, I really enjoyed the variety of stamps!

The intense gaze of the big cat is definitely my favourite, but the grouping  itself truly makes me smile.  In a way, it reminds me of Time to Write, where we are all different but similar, beautiful souls, who come together to get us where we need to go.

We get knocked down, but we get up again … and We get by with a little help from our friends.

Thank you, my dear teacher-writer friend in Texas.  Your little blue envelope today was exactly the outstretched hand I needed, and you are a blessing.

Love, Karen

This post was created as part of Two Writing Teachers’ Slice of Life Challenge

You can view other writers’ contributions via the comments here.

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Karen J. McLean

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  • Awww….I love this. Snail mail is the BEST! (And our friend in Texas knows how to write the BEST cards!!)

  • Karen of Canada, this is a really cool post! Getting stuff in the mail is the best, and your correspondent is one of the best of the best at making it happen. Thanks for sharing this with us. 🙂

  • What a great post. I too have felt this intense exhaustion and feeling harder and harder to recharge. I am also thankful for the writing community and it is nice to connect. When I read your writing and I can share in your feelings of frustration and finding hope I think that’s something special. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you so much, Jonathan. There is something in knowing that we’re getting through this together that makes it a little easier to handle. Thank you for your comment, but most of all for being one of my online teacher-writer friends. 🙂

  • I bet the person who sent you that card is thrilled to know that it arrived right when you needed it. I bet she is happy that she could cause your “face to light up like Broadway.” I bet she is so excited that another note is on its wa to you soon, and I bet she hopes to create the same experience when you receive the next one. (But, I’m just guessing…or am I?)

  • I usually don’t pay attention to stamps, but you are making me second guess that practice. I said it on Zoom but your Texas friend always seems to know just when and what to send in the mail <3 I love that you got a blue envelope as well — I'm sure that brightened your day among other things.

    That song is one of my favorite and next time you are feeling blue (hah) just picture me singing it right along with you! I enjoyed reading your slice today.

  • What a delight to read. I like the honesty in your slice, and the tribute to the TW writing community. It’s interesting how though we are all exhausted this school year, we cling to writing to reenergise us. I will take this opportunity to thank you for your welcoming ‘waves’ during Wake Up and Write. I’m normally having recess by then, but it’s still great to be able to write with the group. Thank you

    • Thank you so much, Juliette! I wondered what part of your school day you join us. It’s so great that it works out for you, given the time differences. 🙂

  • Community is so important and the TTW is pretty special! Yay for unexpected mail (post to you)!