And after all this time I have yet to properly introduce Jen. Not for lack of wanting. So many times I have sat down to write her description and fallen short. It’s just that, I’ve found it impossible to put her into words. Her personality is best understood through the feelings she inspires and projects. It’s also been difficult because every time I try to write about Jen it comes out sounding like I am in love with my best friend, which I am, in an ‘I want to blog with you for the rest of my life’ kind of way.
To help you understand why Jen is so special I’ll give you an example from one of our most recent trips to Zingerman's Roadhouse. We had just been seated and were mulling over the menu when our server came to the table to inquire if we’d like anything to drink. We were both uncertain at the moment. So, in the way that she does, Jen locked eyes with the waitress and explained, politely and genuinely, that we were not yet sure what we wanted. Our server had heard this a million times before, but something about the way Jen said it this time- the respect, compassion, and honesty she conveyed- motivated our server to make the decision for us. She surprised us minutes later with two complementary cups of steaming hot chocolate topped with Zingerman’s Bakehouse marshmallows and freshly whipped Calder Dairy cream.
Many would attribute the hot cocoa to a variety of circumstantial influences and arbitrary factors, but I had seen this kind of generosity follow Jen too many times before. She is a magnet for wholehearted acts of kindness. I’ve also come to see that these acts are absolutely not a matter of luck, nor should they be accredited to less arbitrary factors such as her stunning good looks or artistic nature. There is a very simple and logical explanation; Jen receives back what she projects out into the world.
Jen says she new we’d be friends for life the day we co-translated at a Balsamic Vinegar tasting, but for me it was the day she sent me a sporadic love letter with this simple code written on the back. I share the code with you now for two reasons: 1) Valentine’s day is approaching and everyone should know how to write a good love letter and 2) the wisdom and knowledge conveyed so accurately in these few lines are more telling of the person that Jen is than any combination of descriptors that I could piece together.
So with that, I pass along to you this precious sample of writing from the ever talented and deeply inspiring writer, my dear friend, Jen.
Components of a good Love Letter:
(Written by Jenny J. Stevenson)
1.) the letter must include the perfect pairing of praise and fear- if the love is true, both exist (my own opinion; take it or leave it)
2.) the letter must be of manageable length. It just must be.
3.) The letter must be left open, unconcluded; no grand finale is necessary, no restating what you’ve already said in a new way. No need for any of that. Hopefully, as the end presumes, you’ve already said what you needed to say.