Letter From the Wife of an Honour Walker


Janelle and Laurens at the WInnipeg Honour Walk Send Off

As this walk is about love and relationships, one of the team’s supporters was willing to share part of their journey. This is an email letter from Janelle Theissen van Esch, to her husband Laurens. Laurens is one of the walkers and has currently been on the road for 22 days.

Dear Laurens,

Today at staff worship time there was a painting of our wedding passage, 1 Corinthians 13 presented as something that can help to motivate us:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

I realised at that moment that I have been forgetting to be motivated by love. I have been forgetting to look at each person to see their beauty and I have definitely been forgetting to look at you and your journey with love. I was allowing the difficulty of being apart from you to stop me from seeing the reasons for your journey, which were clearer to me before you left. I haven’t been able to forget what you said to me, “at least you know that I am coming back”. I shared about it with the Settlers in Solidarity story-circle at CMU , not sparing anything including my defensive and frustrated response to your words. The fact is I do understand why you are walking, at least as much as I can. I am glad I can know that you are coming back to me and when.

I can’t imagine the utter desolation of being separated from everyone I hold dear, from my family and community, being forced into a place where I don’t experience love and in fact experience abuse and deprivation and then the desperation and courage that would cause a child to run into the countryside, perhaps not even knowing the direction only making a final attempt to find the place where they are loved.

Nor can I imagine being left behind and knowing I will probably never see my loved ones again. Knowing they are being taken away and being forced to forget me. Hearing that they died trying to get back to me.

I can’t imagine. And with all the love I have my heart breaks.I am glad you are walking to help people remember, to help me remember.

-written by Janelle TvE, Winnipeg faster and supporter


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