For Christmas this past year, I gave my four oldest daughters a trip to New York City. We spent 4 days wandering the city and seeing all it had to offer. But, one of the things that touched my heart while there, was a shop in the World Trade Center. It was called The Strangers Project. They were not open when we visited, but we were able to read many of the letters they had displayed in the windows. These letters ranged from emotionally challenging and inspirational, to funny and quirky. All of them were moving in their own way. Now, I don’t have any affiliation with this Project and I didn’t have the pleasure of speaking to anyone there since they were closed, but I want to talk about this and about what an amazing concept and initiative this is. Maybe even help shine some light on The Strangers Project for them. Especially since this was a first for me and it truly impacted me and my daughters.
As I stood there outside the shop and read through the dozens of letters displayed in the window, I felt joy, I felt sadness, and I felt an abundance of compassion. Despite it being anonymous, the authors of these letters were so brave in putting down their thoughts and even fears for all to see. They were raw and vulnerable as they took things that had been plaguing them and sent it out into the universe. Maybe so they could find peace. Maybe because it was fun. Or maybe because they knew they were not alone and that maybe, just maybe, someone else needed to know they are not alone too. These letters were written by men, women and children of all races and sexual orientations. Showing us how human feelings do not discriminate. We all feel, and often that feeling is hurt. We all can be confused and even feel lost at times. What this showed me is something I already knew, but something we often forget, and that is that we never truly know what someone is going through. Even with people we see all the time, like our friends, family, or neighbors, we may never know what is truly going on in their lives. What their coping with internally or in private. This is why it is so important to show kindness always. Even to strangers. Something as simple as a smile or a hello can change someone’s day.
I am blessed to have stumbled upon these windows that day. It was probably fait that we did. In fact, I had taken the girls in the wrong direction around World Trade Center not once, but twice that morning, and that’s how we stumbled upon this store front. It was exactly what I needed to find that day. I could relate to several of these authors and their losses and joys. It is truly a wonderful initiative that gives people a chance to have a voice and share who they are. Something they may never get an opportunity to do otherwise. I applaud them for such an innovative and moving project.
I am posting here some of the photos we took of the letters displayed in their windows, as well as the information for the Project’s website and social media, so you can check it out for yourselves. I hope that these letters and this project touches your heart and your life like it did ours. Be kind and smile today!
For more information on The Strangers Project, please click the link below.
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