With me being an American, and Ken being Canadian, I’ve been asked a few times over the last few week: How did the two of you meet?
It actually all started with a business card . . .
Nearly 16 years ago, I got my first box of professional business cards. I was working at The Wesleyan Church headquarters in the Youth Department. I got 1000 business cards. Why in the world a writer/editor would need 1000 business cards, I’ll never know.
Our department had just finished Catalyst, a conference held annually for Wesleyan youth pastors, and I was settling back into normalcy when a tour group came through our office. It was a group of Canadians. As I got to talking to them, I realized that one guy in particular knew a lot of the people I knew. The rest of the group was moving on in their tour, but he stayed behind as we talked about common friends and young adult ministry trends. When his group came back to get him, I handed him one of my business cards. Maybe we’d finish our conversation later.
He got on a van, and headed back to Canada.
Ken had stayed in the Youth Department that day because he had seen headquarters before, and it wasn’t that exciting the first time around. And he met a girl who could use the word “dude” in a sentence and not sound weird. He got back on his van to Canada and headed out for the long ride back to Ontario.
When he was nearing the border, he decided to call his sister to check in on his mom. She was terminally ill with ovarian cancer, and though he had just visited her, he was worried. He was right. The doctor had just given the news that she would soon pass away, and he needed to hurry back to New Brunswick to say goodbye.
Ken boarded a plane in Detroit, and sat by his mom’s side that night. He described the conference, and without even thinking confessed that he met a girl named Robin, and somehow he thought she was “the one.” Feeling a bit silly, he tucked that away in his “we’ll not mention that again” file. He was by his mother’s side when she entered the gates of heaven on October 1, 1995.
As he sought out a way to sort through his emotions, he remembered the suggestion of a friend to journal his thoughts during difficult times. So he began to write. The funeral. The visits from friends. The meals brought by. The sadness in his loss and the mysterious joy for his mother’s crown of glory. At the end of the week, he decided he needed to share it with someone. Tucking his thoughts into a drawer somewhere just didn’t seem right. He should mail it to a friend. But he was at his parent’s house, not his own, so he didn’t have his address book.
But he did have a business card of a girl named Robin at headquarters. She’d likely think he was crazy, but she lived in another country. It was completely possible, if not likely, that he would never see her again. He put a note to her at the top, and dropped it in the mail.
A month after the Catalyst conference, a hand-addressed envelope arrived in the mail at my desk at work. It was a thick letter. Curious.
As I read the words that were beautifully written about a man experiencing his mother’s death, I had two emotions: sadness for his loss, and bewilderment on why he would share this loss with me. I went to my boss to report this unusual letter.
“Oh, Ken Jewett. Yeah, I know him. He’s a really solid guy, I’ve known him since he was a kid. His mom and my sister were close friends. I’m a little surprised that he wrote that to you, but you should get to know him.”
A Youth Department secretary’s husband, who was a traveling speaker for the Wesleyan Church, had known Ken since his early teenage years. He had so admired Ken’s spiritual walk that he asked him to autograph his Bible, so he’d always remember him. “You should get to know him. He’s a solid guy.”
And so I called him. And Ken called me back. We began to exchange letters, phone calls, and faxes. Friends who knew us both began to say we would be perfect for each other.
On December 24th, 1995, on our second date, Ken asked for my hand in marriage. Saying yes was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Somehow God had brought us together, given us assurance of His plan, and mutual friends to support us.
And it all began with a business card.