add your light

I am not sure when it was - maybe 1996 or 1997 - that I received a phone call from Jan. She called to say that she was new in town, having recently moved here from Ottawa. She knew of me through our mutual connections with Naramata Centre and wondered if she could meet with me. I remember inviting her to come to worship with University Hill Congregation. Somehow I sensed that it was the congregation more than the minister that she needed to meet. From that first conversation fifteen years ago a friendship has developed and has continued through Jan's move to Calgary eight years ago. Anyone who knows Jan Tollefson will tell you that she is an inspiration. The non-profit charitable society that she established is aptly named Add Your Light. Jan adds her light through her compassion and concern. She is a visionary, a truth-teller and a practical, get things done kind of person. Beside all of that she has a wonderful smile and sense of humour. Since I was diagnosed a year ago with multiple myeloma she has been a great encouragement. But now she, too, has been diagnosed with cancer. Out of the blue she found herself in an emergency ward with a brain tumour. The tumour was successfully removed only to discover that the cancer, though discovered early, is very dangerous. Jan is now preparing for a combination of chemotherapy and radiation treatments in the summer. It has all come as a huge shock. As the shock wears off and the reality settles in I hope that Jan now receives the kind of care and concern that she has offered through all of these years. If my experience so far is any indicator she may yet discover that surprising blessings await (along, yes, with ache and trouble) on the other side of a cancer diagnosis. That is my prayer, along with prayers for healing and for added light ... lots of added light!

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