I recently came across this piece of correspondence from January 2006.
I hardly know what to write. I just finished your book (minutes ago) and was so moved by your beautiful remembrance of your wife. Through the pages of the book I fell in love with a woman I will never meet. I was inspired to live life now, to take the poor and marginalized into my community and to do it in my own quiet, reflective way. Your book at times made me envious of Mev’s extrovertedness, her ability to light up the room and touch so many people! Many times in my life I have wanted to be that person, but those are not my gifts, and that is OK. I can be an activist through my actions, so I don’t have to use my words. Thank you for encouraging such reflections. But I digress!
It was such a pleasure to be invited into your intimate relationship. I felt as if we have been spending numerous hours together discussing life and love. The reality of your relationship with Mev feels so familiar to mine and Peter’s. Peter is such a public figure, able to impress the group with amazing writing and speaking, but I see all sides of him and know the failings he hides from others. I can relate to your position in the relationship and felt a kindred spirit in so many ways. Thank you for this. Thank you for always making me feel as if I was a better person, more committed to justice and to the poor than I ever was. You expected more so I gave more. I will always have a little Mark sitting on my shoulder as I continue making life decisions. I fear I will disappoint at times but know that I will always remain committed in my own way to the call I have witnessed in you, and through your book in Mev. I pray that we will be friends for a long time to come.
Please pardon the Natalie Goldberg-esque writing style, but I feel less pressure to be brilliant when the pen can just keep going.
In peace, in struggling, and in love,