June 17 • 11:03 AM

Anonymous message from the heart

December 17, 2008
I receive anonymous letters quite often—and usually it's a dreadful thing. They're usually filled with barbs or contain subject matter that I can do little about, have no control over and cannot change. Rarely, rarely are they dripping with compliments or words of encouragement, so I'm always leery when I see an envelope with no return address. I'm never sure if I have the strength to deal with whatever may be inside.

Usually someone has a problem with something I've written (or haven't written) and wants to let me know about it without engaging in actual dialogue. That, somehow, would be too hard, I know. It's hard to beat up and berate your enemies when you humanize them, when you realize that they're a person, too.

Apparently, the writer of this particular anonymous letter knows this intimately. What the writer has to say is so fantastic that I must share it here. The timing is exquisite and confirms that the universe takes care of things and it's up to us to pay attention.

The note comes addressed to me, type-written, in an envelope with no return address. The cover letter reads: "Dear Catherine, In the event you are in need of some 'filler' articles, please feel free to use the enclosed." It's signed "Your Friend." I think I know this person—at least I hope so—this friend of the heart. One so wise deliver- ing a message of simplicity—a message that resonates in me and I'm sure many, many others.

My response is gratitude, so much so that I wish I could call the writer up and express it right now. But I must take issue with one thing: This is not "filler" material. It's perfect, as far as I'm concerned, for "scrapbook journalism," some-thing we specialize in here. I plan to save and re-read these words from time to time, as will others. For this I say to my friend "thank you." It's nice to know that there are thoughtful people out there—people who want to do their part to bring a little peace into our everyday lives—and the universe as a whole. Here it is, the author is unknown but much appreciated.

Follow your heart

In these troubling times it is very difficult if not impossible to fully comprehend the magnitude of the state of our world. Wars, religious persecution, martyrs, innocent victims. Life or death, terroristic actions prompted by religious interpretations of ancient prophecies has led to a total disregard for human life.

Territorial boundaries disputed by those claiming to have rights over others. Maligned and malignant followers of radical religions' self-proclaimed prophets. The classic conflict between the haves and the have-nots, powerful over powerless, strong over weak...when will this madness end?

It ends, my friends, with a very basic and fundamental decision; a decision that we are all capable of making. A decision that, if followed, is never regretted nor forgotten.

You already know what it is, you already feel it. You feel it deep within your very existence. That warm feeling you get when you do something right. The tear shed when you feel for the heartbreak of others. That feeling that can only come from deep within our hearts.

As we embark upon another blessed holiday season I ask that we all remember to follow our hearts. In this particular writing however, I ask that the word "heart" be remembered as a heartfelt acronym.

Honor others. Empathize with those in need. Accept the differences that make us human beings. Respect others and by all means have the Tenacity to hold your convictions.

May you and yours have a blessed holiday season and may your hearts be filled with joy in the New Year.

It's a decision to follow your heart. Sometimes it feels impossible just to hang onto it—and like the writer says—to have the tenacity to keep up that grip.

Following the heart is scary sometimes, and makes me feel insecure and vulnerable—not just in relationships but in life decisions like career and the future.

The acronym makes it a little easier. I'll have to remember it when I'm irritated with someone or choosing to zero in on negativity and distress.

One thing's for sure, out of all of the anonymous letters I've ever gotten, this one is surely the most constructive, the best.

Email Catherine at

Castle Creek
06 - 17 - 19
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