On Saturday, I had the opportunity to share my Letter Project with the wonderful people of the Triad Health Project and Dining for Friends (see my earlier post). In short, this group is celebrating 30 years of care, education, and funding for people affected by AIDS in the Greensboro community. At their community party, held at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, I set up a small installation with hundreds of handmade envelopes and invited party-goers to pause and write a letter. They could write to anyone: those living with the disease, those living without the disease but are affected by it in some way, those who have lost their life to AIDS, and to anyone they care about. A handmade wooden keepsake box on the center of the table held a hidden speaker, which softly recited the 700 names of those in the community who have lost their life to AIDS.
I set up the space and waited. The party had over 300 people. I did not get 300 people to participate; but thats okay. To me, strength is not necessarily in quantity. I saw one man sit down at the table for a long time. Once he wrote his letter and sealed the envelope, he began to write another. He sealed it and began to write another. And another. Others came and went and he still sat there writing. This sight filled my heart and broke it at the same time. Because of this man, I knew the project mattered. My only intent was to set the table as an offering; a space to use if anyone wanted to use it. To actually see healing unfold before my eyes was so heartfelt in both a warm and achey way.