Monday, December 20, 2010

40 Days for 40 Years

"I've really been getting a lot of nice emails recently," Jeff said to me a few nights ago as he stretched out on the couch by the woodstove.

I was puttering around in the kitchen, putting some things away, I suppose, or doing one of the myriad of tasks that accompany the keeping of a home.  "That's great," I said, and tried to hide the huge smile spreading across my face.

"What?"  Jeff asked.  "Why are you smiling?"

I wasn't going to tell him.  I was trying to keep it a secret as long as I could.  I knew he would find out eventually, but...

Finally I had to confess that I had arranged for someone to email him each day with thoughtful words of affirmation for him:  40 days for 40 years.  Jeff's not a big party guy, and it's nearly impossible to find a gift--a physical item--that means a whole lot to him.  Oh, he receives them graciously, but they usually don't touch his soul.  But words of affirmation?  They speak to him.

Back in September, I read on Krista's blog about how her husband (also named Jeff, incidentally) had planned 40 days of celebration for her 40th birthday.  "Aha!" I thought, "I could do something like that for my Jeff!"  But what to do?  I wished that I had the money to take him on a trip, but that wasn't possible.  I knew that I could easily make a list of 40 special moments with Jeff, so I did.  But what else?  Then it dawned on me:  simply contact 40 of his friends--ranging from guys he knew when he was young and single, to men that he's met and become close to during our years in Virginia, and from every time in between--and ask them if they would be willing to spend a few minutes jotting an email to Jeff expressing appreciation for his friendship and for the way God has used him in their lives.  The response was immediate:   yes, I'd love to help!  what a great idea!  I'm honored that you asked!  what day do you want me to send my letter?

It's been fun, so much fun, to see the emails arrive.  They're not even written to me; but as Jeff shares them, they bring back a mountain of memories and reminders of cherished friendships through the years.

I'm not sure it's fair for me to be gaining so much enjoyment from this when it's supposed to be for Jeff's birthday!  ;-)


Homeschool on the Croft said...

What a lovely, lovely idea. I'm not sure I could find 40 friends for my hubby, mind you! But what a fantastic, thoughtful thing to do.
Interesting that Jeff's a barber (isn't that right?) - my dad was too, and my brother until he changed career just a couple of years ago, and I trained before I married and worked as a barber for a few years!! Lots of barbers in our family!

Simply Bonkers! said...

Oh my goodness, that is an awesome idea. And how great that Jeff noticed and mentioned something to you. Like you, I wouldnt be able to keep the excitement in either.
Very thoughtful, and he'll remember it for the rest of his life. Great job!

Anonymous said...

awww what a sweet gift I am sure he is loving it just as much as you!

Sarah-Anne said...

wow, that's a great idea, Davene (and Krista)! the family did something similar for my uncle's birthday, and i was the only one who didn't call him old. :)