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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Repeat E-mails Can Still Bring Smiles

Posted Friday, April 10, 2009, at 3:16 PM

I saw the subject line and the email address and laughed out loud. I have this older gentleman whom I know from years ago. Jack enjoys sending me emails from time to time.

Trouble is he will send me emails that he's sent to me before. Once again he sent me a repeat email.

Years ago I asked him if he was aware of sending me repeats.

He looked puzzled and thought I was joking with him. Jack told me he doesn't keep emails after forwarding them to others.

I wanted to tell him that I have a file where I keep certain wisdom sayings and jokes that others send to me. I wanted to tell him that I have over eighty emails that he's sent to me and only twenty three of them have different content. I wanted to tell him that he's sent me this one set of pictures with heartwarming sayings over eleven times!

I didn't have the heart to tell him.

Sure enough, this recent email from Jack had the same set of pictures with the same set of sayings. This was the twelfth time he's sent it to me!

Maybe what is most strange about this phenomena is that I scroll through the pictures and sayings and find the same one that makes me cry every time.

It's a picture of two boys, around the age of three, who are simply sitting on some steps and smiling about the goodness of life and being in each other's company. I cry every time he sends me that email. There is something to it that really grabs my soul and lets me know that life is good.

There is some feature to it that touches a deep part of my being and affirms the goodness of life and the people who share it with me. I cry because I know that there are people who want to share my life, who celebrate in my being here, and who will be with me through thick and thin. I cry tears of joy when I see that picture and read those sayings because they have become a part of my foundation of how I understand life itself.

Now, here's the truly puzzling part of this.

Jack will go for months without sending me any emails. Then, suddenly, there will arrive ten to twenty of the worst jokes and comical content you will find. Some are offensive, even to me, and there are weeks when I will simply delete anything that has his email address.

And then there comes that day ... when life is really hard and situations are giving me fits, when people keep wanting me to be a human doing instead of a human being.

You know those days ... you feel like you've been shaken off of your foundation and that you're no longer able to even react to all of the demands and stressors before you.

And Jack sends me that email on the very day when I need it the most.

How does he know from hundreds of miles away? How can he forget that he's sent me the same email? How does the universe know that I need that soul cleansing cry and arrange for me to have it in ways I'll never know?

In the end I'm very thankful for Jack. I hope you have several like him as well.

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Sunshine for the Soul
Rev. P.T. Wilson
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P.T. Wilson is the senior pastor at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church, Greencastle, and is also the University Chaplain at DePauw University.
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