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  • Rev. Scott Carnes

A Re-distribution of Happiness

Photo of Lowell Joerg by The Record (newspaper) of Stockton California

Today I opened a letter address to “Pastor” and had a return address of “Lowell Joerg, Oaks at Inglewood Assisted Living.” The skeptic in me was immediately suspicious. I opened the letter to find a well-preserved postcard of “First Methodist Church, Abingdon, Ill.” The letter said this:

…I was at an antique store and found a circa 1938 postcard of your beautiful church (how the card got all the way out to California we’ll never know.) Anyway, I hope it brightens your day. It’s an old classic for sure so I said to myself, “By golly, I think I’ll send it home where it can be appreciated.” Lots of change, I bet. Our heritage is important to us all and should be preserved…
…I like to call my little hobby a “re-distribution of happiness.” Our world sure needs it. Thank you, Godspeed, and here’s hoping you and your congregation enjoy a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday.

He said what he paid for it and that sometimes people send the money back to him. I though, “Uh, huh. Sure.” Then I went online to check this ‘scam’ out. Turns out there were newspaper articles from all over the country. He collects stamps and often got them from old postcards, so then he decided one day to start returning the postcards to where they belong. A reporter from the newspaper in Stockton even tracked him down a few years ago and interviewed him. Turns out it is a real guy doing this very real thing-- whatever his intentions. Only about a quarter of the people ever reply, but this 91 year-old man says he just enjoys spreading happiness.

I put a few dollars and a stamp in an envelope with a word of thanks, to cover his expense and to encourage this joyous enterprise, but I thought it might be fun to do one more thing. I wonder if people in this church would write notes of thanks, sharing about this church and its ministries over the years…and what we are busy doing today. If you bring those notes and cards (without addresses or last names, please) to the church by December 1, we will put them with my note and send some joy back to California as part of our own "redistribution of happiness" experiment.

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