Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Christmas returned

A couple of days ago I received a Christmas card in the mail. Yes, in early August. It was the one I had sent to a friend in Cape Town, South Africa. Postmarked Dec. 5, it twice crossed the Atlantic, returning to me with the only notation: P.O. Box closed.
I’d been afraid of that – afaid that I no longer had the correct address for Jane Kennedy, the woman I’d worked with when I worked at the Parliament of World Religions in December 1999.

Both us had worked flat out for months, trying to help ensure the success – the impact – of an event we thought would shift the consciousness of the planet’s people. [We were, perhaps, just a little optimistic.] Actually Jane worked ten times harder than me. She had been part of the struggle against apartheid; she knew that consciousness could be shifted.

When the Parliament ended – in debt and largely ignored by the rest of the world – we were devastated. Not just because our jobs had ended but, even more, because we thought that all our efforts had been in vain.

But they were not. In honest, wrenching emails sent through cyberspace, Jane and I helped hoist each other up, finding new ways to use whatever talent, whatever faith we might have, to make more people more aware of the interconnectedness of all life. And Parliaments continued to be held; weaving together people of disparate faiths but common spirits in work to mend the planet.

She went on to produce films. I worked on my books. The inside note on my Christmas card was funny, reflecting a time when she had visited my Chicago apartment. “Dear Jane: I think of you every time I make toast. (I still have the toaster you didn’t like.) My manuscript will be finished before Christmas. One of the novel’s characters lived 12,000 years ago in northern Spain … so of course I had to go there – what wonders! (There’s a brief report on my website What wonders are you creating? Please stay connected.”

She did. Last March she sent an email with her new address. And the we that we were in December 1999 was confirmed, still strong. Still important. Hallelujah!

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