I recently received the most beautiful e-mail invitation.
It came from Christine, a mutual friend of my friend Wade. There was no explanation, only a request and a list. On the list were 52 dates, the first Monday of every week of 2014. Beside each date was a name or cluster of names. My name was beside May 12.
The request was this:
"The hope is that you will put something in the mail to Wade during that week.
You are welcome (but not mandated) to get creative. Mail a card. An art project. A mixed-CD. Chocolate. Pictures. Poetry. A book. A copy of a Wade-inspired letter-to-the-editor. There are no limits. And there is intended to be no pressure."
On March 3 of last year, I'd had a phone call from Wade, fairly late in the evening. He called to tell me some news and ask me a favour. Wade's news was that he had just been diagnosed with colon cancer. He then told me that his mother had also been diagnosed with ALS, Louis Gehrigs disease. It was pretty aggressive. She wasn't expected to live past the summer. He was putting his Masters of Divinity on hold and moving back to Enderby to be with her. He was also expecting to undergo surgery within the next few months. The favour he asked was that I contact some of our mutual friends so that they would hear the news from someone, rather than through social media.
This e-mail says something about Wade. There were more than 52 people on that list. These were 52-plus people who Christine and Wade were pretty sure would be willing to mail him something. And I know that if they wanted to do two years, they could have found 52 more people who would have mailed him something. I can't think of 52 people who I would even consider asking to mail me something, let alone who I thought would actually want to.
People love Wade. They do because he is generous with his own love. He is the kind of guy who could be called the face of love. He is intentional, mindful, creative, wise and kind. When he went to Africa, to thank the people with whom he stayed, he created theWATERproject.ca and brought fresh water to their village, devoting six years to the project. You want him as your minister, even if you don't go to church. And he's willing to be open and vulnerable. And that's what makes this e-mail so beautiful. In his willingness to ask his friends for something that will help lift his spirit, he has given each of us the opportunity to spread love. In participating, I get to practice being intentional, mindful, creative and kind. I can only hope to ever be so wise.
E-mail from Wade, February 13:
Hi Dear Ones~
Letting you know that Mom died today. My brother and I were with her at home, which is exactly how she wanted to go. I’m feeling lots of things – sad and grateful being the biggest themes.
Love you all – thanks for your love.
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