A year or two ago, my sister Cait gave me some really great advice, as she’s wont to do more regularly than that. On this particular occasion, she suggested that I make a special label in my Gmail account and that I call it “for a rainy day.”
Filed under that label, she suggested, should be every kind, supportive, sweet, and loving note that I have ever received. Every nicety sent from an old boss. Every supportive email from a professor. Every kind boost of confidence from an old friend. Every out-of-the-blue note from a blog reader. This way, she explained, that on a rainy day—or on a perfectly sunny day that still somehow felt gray—I could visit the label and read through the kindnesses that had been sent my way and feel better.
I’m not quite sure what kind of energy I’ve been sending out into the universe to deserve such things, but this week I’ve been showered with a particularly plentiful bundle of virtual notes to tuck away “for a rainy day.” So today, I felt like it was my karmic responsibility to pass Cait’s bit of big-sisterly advice along to all of you.
The plain truth is that sometimes people are not very kind. They will send notes and make comments and do things that are mean-spirited, or damaging, or simply unhelpful. But much more often than that people are kind and generous and smart and good. And we owe it to those people, and to ourselves, to let theirs be the voices that we hear the loudest. When the nastier voices crop up, it’s awfully nice—hell, imperative—to be able to quash them with a read-through of notes that are big-hearted and compassionate and encouraging.If you don’t have a labeling system in place in your email account, frankly, I’m not sure how you survive. And I urge you to consider making one now. Start with a label that reads “for a rainy day.” (Maybe you end there if compulsive labeling is not your bag. Maybe you will discover the beauty that is custom color labeling in Gmail. Maybe you are already very much on board with the magic of meticulously color-coded labels.)It doesn’t matter if you consider yourself to be someone who goes in for this kind of self-helpy stuff or not. Notes for a rainy day can soften even the hardest edges. And I think we all deserve to be reminded of goodness—our own and other peoples’—on rainy days and sunny ones.
I hope you consider this my rainy day note to each of you and that maybe it inspires you to send a rainy day note to someone else.
Ever sappily yours,