I remember a video going viral of a guy who brought two chairs and table with him to a subway station. He held a sign inviting anyone walking by to join him in conversation. It was striking to me the people he’d meet and the stories they’d share because maybe they had no other ears to listen to them.
How people would go home that day feeling whole because they were brave enough to look up from their smart phone, take off their headphones, and engage in FTF with a total stranger? How filling for him too, to be noticed.
What had given him such an idea anyway?
Last Christmas I received a Royal typewriter, circa 1930s. However, the inspiration it birthed within me was the real stocking stuffer.
I’d always practiced letter writing. I have a pal overseas, and there is dire need for love letters addressed to recently dumped friends. Reading Hannah Brencher’s If You Find This Letter really took it to the next level for me. I wanted to do something as extravagant. This girl left letters all over New York City for strangers to find and then made letter writing her business!
My own extravaganza came to me in the living room of a hearth. That’s what we call my friend Dusti’s place anyway. We had been meeting there weekly for a church type small group. Worshipping amongst these lovely ladies one night, I felt God reminding me about the need for me to use my words. Maybe I had known this for awhile, but the first time I really believed it was after reading a text from my dear friend Allie. I often refer back to it too when doubt comes knocking at my door.
“Your words are powerful in a way that others (like mine) aren’t. God wants you to use them to show the world His love for them. He’s assigned you the job to be His voice to people who wouldn’t otherwise come to know Him. How awesome is that?!”
I knew the typewriter had to be a huge part of this. There was just something so cozy about seeing those hand-typed words pressed on stationary, each key stroke leaving a print more unique than the one to its left or its right. The nostalgia of it all.
One of the first ideas I had was to set up shop somewhere in the community with my typewriter and a sign whispering something about “free prayers”.
Like a lot of my ideas spewed from passion it got put off and put off. Procrastination is fear after all. Things tend to get hard when I’m unsure. What I’ve learned though is that passions are best fueled by grit, so they don’t get to be easy. Easy doesn’t ignite.
I’m currently on a plane to New Orleans for a music festival and as an early celebration for my 25th birthday. Ironically my friend Jess sits beside me receiving life after college advice from a English stranger in the aisle seat because they were brave enough to notice each other.
I on the other hand am writing to you because I did happen to set up shop with my typewriter yesterday at a coffee shop where I live with a sign that asked “May I hand type you a prayer?”
After blocking out some brief anxiety in regards to what people would think of me, I only left one head phone in to let some worship music soothe my soul.
I told myself if just one person walks up and accepts my offer it will have been worth it. I sipped on my mocha with anticipation.
His name was Daniel, and he felt as though he was in the lions den. I had seen him walking around earlier asking people for money. When he saw my sign he said, “Well, could always use a prayer.” He sat with me, and I let him pour out as I poured onto the page. When I handed his prayer to him he only asked that I wouldn’t forget him, and that I’d pray again later for him. He said what I was doing had to have come from the Lord (he wasn’t wrong).
A few moments passed, and I noticed him walking around again. This time he was showing people the prayer, almost in proclamation. My eyes filled with tears. I thought, wow, how awesome is that?!