The Gift of Knowing One Another

December 1, 2020
The Gift of Knowing One Another

Gift of Knowing One AnotherSome friends are like family. They help us mark the important times, birthdays, anniversaries, and the holidays. For Shelly Regan and Kim Dewey, two couples fit that description: Lynn and Kevan Rehm and Lynn Wiggert and Duane Schmitz.

The three couples have been friends for more than 35 years. They have traveled together and see each other often. But their most anticipated gathering is in December when they celebrate the holidays. Those gatherings include all the elements that build great memories – a well-prepared dinner, lots of laughter, and gift giving. About 15 years ago, after decades of exchanging gifts—mostly wine or wine-related accessories — the friends added a new tradition. “We’re lucky. We’re all in good places,” said Shelly. “And one more fancy wine opener wasn’t going to add a lot of value to any of our lives.”

No one quite remembers who came up with the idea of making donations to organizations that would be meaningful to each person or couple, but everyone thought it was brilliant. According to Shelly selecting the organization is half the fun. “All year long we make mental notes of what’s happening in each other’s lives and look for potential connections to charitable organizations,” she said. After dinner envelopes are opened, organizations are revealed, and the friends share stories about the causes they supported in each other’s honor. Shelly reported the reactions are priceless: Surprise. Delight. Belly laughs. And, yes the tissue box is passed around, as well.

Last year, Lynn and Duane announced that they had made a gift to HMML on Shelly’s behalf. It should have come as no surprise. Since retiring as president of Yamamoto, a Minneapolis-based brand agency, Shelly has put in countless hours in support of HMML. Shelly shared her stories about HMML with her friends, from helping plan events around the 2019 Jefferson Lecture honor given to HMML Executive Director Father Columba Stewart, OSB, to spearheading HMML’s efforts to redefine its identity system, launched this fall. “The minute they told me about their gift to HMML, I grabbed the tissue box,” said Shelly. What her friends were saying to her was “we hear you, we see you, and we know how much HMML means to you.”

We know how powerful a gift can be. We know how much meaning it can carry. During this time of separation and loss, it is our dearest friendships that sustain us and give us hope. We love those members of our HMML family, like Shelly and Kim, and we love those who have welcomed us into their lives through their traditions of giving. Blessings to all. Happy holidays.

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