I'm nearing the home stretch of my #100daysofmaking project. Day 93, to be exact. The 100DayProject is a call to create or make something consistently for 100 days. Write a poem, sketch, draw, or do whatever makes you greet your inner artist and say, "Hello! It's been awhile. Remind me again of who you are and what you're inspired by?" The bottom line is to create something everyday. Mostly it's the fear of not having the perfect finished product that prevents us from starting at all. This project forces you to start and finish something new and exercise your creativity muscle. Since July 1st, I've committed to making a homemade card each day.
I've created for myself, for new acquaintances and old friends, for co-workers and complete strangers. Each has had its own creative challenges and blessings. My favorite was creating a card for a runner in Singapore, who I'd met over Instagram.
Her card never arrived. It was one of the first I'd tried watercoloring for, and I used her own words across the front because oftentimes we quote others but don't realize the beauty and power that our words have. We patiently waited. 10 days. 14 days. 3 weeks. 5 weeks. The thought that my handmade card was floating around lost somewhere between the United States and Singapore made me sick.
She was gracious. Her excitement when I finally sent her a picture of the card that she never received was sweet and heart-breaking. I write a post about fearfully running underneath the Golden Gate bridge and feeling like it's a miracle that the bridge isn't collapsing on top of me with its sheer weight. And the next day, riding my bike on the same bridge, marveling at the beautiful view and not thinking twice about being supported by only steel and wire. Perspective is everything- we can choose to live under the bridge thinking that everything is about to collapse and go wrong, or we can be on top looking ahead with wonderment and awe. She shares candidly about how she used to live in despair under that bridge, but running enabled her to find inner strength and overcome fear. Her transparency touches me.
And so I do what my heart tells me to do. I make her another card that is inspired by her story.
This time, I walk into the post office, lay the envelope on the counter and tell the postal worker that I need this to be sent as registered mail.
He looks at me, brows furrowed. "What's in here?"
"It's a card. It's very important that it gets to her. Last time it got lost in the mail."
He stares at me, then down at the envelope with my cursive calligraphy across the front. "Why do you want to send this as registered mail if it's just a card? It is very expensive."
He tells me the cost. It's more than my watercolors and chalk pastels and the the 50 blank card and envelope sets.
I don't blink. "Because I made this."
He nods. There are no more questions exchanged. The act of creating something from nothing, for someone else, is reason enough.
14 days later, it arrives in Singapore. Of all the cards that have been sent and received from this project, this one makes my heart leap with joy the most. Making something for someone, I've learned, is priceless. And trying to put a dollar amount on its worth is like trying to capture the ocean in a bottle.