In a world where our main outlet of communication is through text messages, emails & DMs, the gentle beauty of a handwritten letter seems largely forgotten. Recently, I received a letter that not only allowed me to experience the power and sincerity behind a pen to paper note but it left an imprint on my heart that I will never forget. Sharing this story with you that I ht5old close to my heart in hopes that maybe you too could brighten someones world by sending them a note or a letter to say you love them or just that you are thinking of them.
Quick background story about this letter. It was addressed to me but not delivered to my residence so unfortunately got lost in the shuffle for over a year before I got a hold of it. The letter was sent from Wendy, a retired phycologist and fitness instructor from Arizona who I actually have never met. She found my YouTube channel and was cardio dancing with me & Brie from across the country, in her living room - stating it was her way of working out and keeping her energy up while battling lung cancer. She wrote "I have enjoyed so much dancing with you and your sister and learning your routines - it is important for me to keep my lung capacity strong and you have provided a fun way for me to do this. I wanted to say you thank you and let you know that you have helped someone you don't even know who is going through the most difficult time in their life - just by being you & doing something that you so clearly love to do"
Cue the non-stop tears after reading that.
What courage it took for her to write something so powerful to someone she had never met. What courage it took to be battling such an awful disease but deciding to find a fitness routine that made her feel good, despite what she was going through, despite what she was actually feeling inside. What courage it took to see joy in someone else and choose to not only embrace that joy but to join in on it, when her life situation was less than joyful. Not many people have the courage to do that. I want to have an ounce her courage. So often I can be wrapped up by what someone said or how they made me feel - I complain about the littlest upsets, the weather, traffic, being late to something because of said traffic or weather — those things are not worth complaining about as life problems when there are so many people, people i know, and people i have never met that are going through real life problems and being optimistic through those times. Though in her letter, Wendy says she is inspired by watching my videos and inspired by me — but that is not what this story is about. This story is about how Wendy is the inspiration, the inspiration behind so much more than these words I write.
She closed out the letter saying that if her health was stabilized in July, she had plans to come to Boston and while here, wanted to come take my class live. To be honest, I felt a little sick to my stomach after reading that because this was sent the previous November, which meant she didn't hear from me before taking that trip to Boston. It killed me to think that this woman who took the time out to write me this beautiful letter could have possibly thought that I opened it and tossed it to the side because she never heard back from me. So I made it my top priority to find Wendy from Arizona. I started by writing her a note back that next day to the return address on her letter and of course, I tried to find her on all outlets of social media, but I came up with nothing. I searched for her on google and couldn't find an email address or phone number. When I got a "return to sender" on my card to her a week later, my heart sank. What if something happened to her in that year and I never got the chance to tell her she made me feel important, loved and like I had made a difference in her life.
I had to get creative, I compiled a list of "possible relatives" of Wendy that google gave me and sent out 8 messages on Facebook explaining to them this story and reassuring them that I was not a crazy person but just needed her email address to get in touch with her. As the weeks went by, it was weighing on me - how could I feel SO connected to this women but yet so completed disconnected at the same time?
It was then on Christmas Eve that the weight of the unknown lifted off my shoulders. I was telling my family members this story at the dinner table, each of them teary eyed and feeling my feels completely when I got a buzz on my phone from facebook messenger from one of the 8 possible relatives saying "What is your email address, I will pass it along to Wendy." I couldn't even contain my happiness just knowing that Wendy was alive AND I was about to be in contact with her!!!
Wendy ended up sending me an email a few days later, just as joyful as I was that we had connected (it happened to be the same day Eric and I got engaged so I was able to share that happy news and a photo with her!) And we have been emailing and having phone dates ever since, sharing our professional goals, giving each other advice, telling stories and being a small light in each other's lives, from one side of the country to the other. She even ended up joining the ‘Get Aligned’ challenge at EB last month to keep up with a healthy diet. Though she still has reoccurring cancer, her tumors have not spread so her health is stable at this time.
My new friend Wendy is just as amazing as I made her out to be in my head after reading her heartfelt letter to me - she has a beautiful soul, lives her life to the fullest and has helped me grow as a person in more ways than I ever could have imaged and I know she will continue to do so - all because she grabbed a pen and paper to write a note to a girl from Boston just to say thanks for giving her a reason to dance :)