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  • Valerie Bryant

$2 and a Handmade Card – How They Got Me Through

When reality hits that a relationship has died, the pain is devastating; the shock is real. Especially after you’ve invested heart and soul to promote your partner’s dreams – often ahead of your own because you know they will one day return the favor to you. Without warning, you reach the end of the proverbial road - one bearing a sudden sharp and blinding curve with foreboding peril ahead. Slamming on the brakes to avoid total annihilation, you survey the carnage after your head-on collision with a relationship brick wall.

In the first moment, you question whether life’s worth living. In the next, you realize that your partner has been “playing” your love like a fiddle, quite since the beginning.

This is less about that initial slam and more about the shocking reality of life in those months that followed for me. Striking out on my own with children in tow, I had to figure how to do everything about life alone. Determined to somehow find my feet, I relocated states away and struck out on my own. I was determined to survive this new nightmare week by week and tried to keep myself hopeful through the strain. By night, I would refine my resume and apply for countless jobs. By day, I would drive hours for Uber. My kids needed to eat; utilities needed to be paid. Uber served for a time as my Godsend.

It was then that one dear friend who lived half a country away started sending me cards she would design. Each contained refreshing, brief messages. Maybe one would have a scripture card I could post for encouragement. Another might contain a positive memory we had shared during happier times. But the ones that ministered most were those where she lovingly placed a crisp two-dollar bill in the fold of the card.

Two dollars and a handmade card got me through. It’s those smallest, simplest acts of kindness that help a hurting mama to lift head from a pillow in the morning, to swallow hard one more time when turned down for a job, and to make it through the next 24 hours. This is what two dollars and my friend’s handmade cards did for me:

Worthy of love

1. They told me I was worthy of love. She willingly took the time and energy to tailor a card just for me. Having just been discarded, it was almost unreal to me that she intentionally regarded me. She was also a mother; it wasn’t like she didn’t have her own demanding duties. Still, she took the time to care for me.

Something positive

2. They gave me something positive to look forward to. Seeing a card in the mail stamped with her return address was cause for excitement. I would pull it from the mailbox and place it at the bottom of my mail stack for the day. Her card would be saved until after everything else had been opened and worked; that’s when I would open it and absorb her love. These were times offering me mini pleasures that helped me to keep hanging on.

Boost of delight

3. They gave me a boost of delight. I dared not use any of the Uber-earned funds frivolously. Often starting my shift with barely enough gas, I’d make my first run and then immediately gas up with those earnings. Pinching every penny, I paid my utility bills and groceries. What excitement when a card would contain a glorious $2 bill! It was always just enough for a hot cup of Starbucks Americano, with steamed soy – costing only $1.83. That coffee formed my happy place, plus gave me energy to push through my fatigue.

Two dollars and a handmade card. I’m a living witness that small things can help a struggling mama in huge ways to want to survive. The next time you feel like lending a hand to a mama friend in need, make personal, plain, and consistent connections. A hurting mama needs to know that she is loved, worthy of happiness, and that she has your unwavering support. Help her to brave through her darkest journey with loving simplicity.

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