Sunday, August 16, 2009

The most incredible compliment


I know the following message is long, but I just have to share the whole e-mail, minus the senders name.... for respect to her privacy! I am only sharing this because it is such an unexpected compliment to receive from over 20 years ago. I cried last Monday as I read it. If I were to die today, knowing that I have touched someones life and made a difference, than I would die a happy soul.

To me, this is what life is all about:

Hi again and congrats on the wedding! You look so happy. Just as I remember you. I meant to respond to your message some time ago but kept getting distracted with daily life stuff.

I had to do a double take on the photo of your niece, Kelsey. She looks so much like Mary about the time she was in my life (a long time ago but seems just like yesterday). Thinking about her has made me think a lot about how important it is to reach out to others and let more people into my heart.

I recently embarked on a journey of self-assessment and while it was quite painful it was well worth the time and effort. I don't know if you had any idea how unhappy my home life was during middle school and high school but it was awful. School was my escape and the place I received positive feedback for my achievements. During my journey I tried to figure out where in my life things changed for me and I finally realized that being on Dance Team was what really made a difference in my life. I went from being completely self-conscious and shy to the much more confident and self-assured person I have become. It is a quite striking physical change as well that mirrors the internal change that occurred. My school photos are so completely different from one year to the next that I almost can't believe it.

While I was figuring all of this out I was encouraged to examine who was in my life at the time and I couldn't put my finger on who exactly might have had something to do with my "transformation." And then it hit me - that person is you! You were my person. I hope that doesn't sound strange or weird but when I stumbled across you on FB it hit me. You were the first person that showed any interest in me for who I was rather than what I could do or achieve.

So, while it has been many years since I have seen you I want to thank you for the smallest and simplest acts of kindness that made more of a difference in my life than you will ever know. If it helps ease your pain any, please realize that you have had a tremendous impact on other people's lives. There are probably more people that you have touched than you will ever know!

Congratulations again on the wedding and happy 40th! I love the painting of the reception - I would love to have one of ours! Best wishes - always.

Thank you for taking the time to read this sweet sweet e-mail I received from my "lil sis" on dance team in High School. She knew Mary, since she was younger than me.

2 comments:

LKHarris-Kolp said...

What a beautiful tribute to you, Jeni!! This note really touched me b/c YOU have made a difference in my life, too...you are such an inspiration, and I am so happy to have you as my friend. Keep being you and God will continue to bless you.

xoxoxo

Kerri said...

Jeni,

I agree with your comment, "to me this is what life is all about." It is so rewarding to make a difference in other people's lives!!! You have a gift with people. You are fun, loving, accepting, outgoing, caring, and REAL! I admire you and am so glad that I am part of your life and you are part of mine! You, your family, and Kelsey and Brett are what I have of Mary. I love to see pictures of all of you and communicate with you all, too! Thanks for "taking me in."

Love ya,
Ker