After partaking in such a life changing process, I’ve made the decision to continue to write letters of inspiration on a weekly basis.
I went into this exercise blinded to the impact my words of appreciation could have. The journey we call life is one that can easily become a routine existence devoid of meaning and purpose. Every time that I sat down to write a letter, I was forced to quiet my thoughts. I discovered the serenity found in moments of silence. The reflection that came about from these moments was not always positive or joyful. I was forced to look at the difficulties I had to face in my past, both physically and mentally. It is never easy and comfortable to consider your vulnerability. I realized that the saying “no man is an island” is the most accurate description of my ongoing daily experience. It was the support, care, encouragement and discipline received from these relationships that is responsible for my growth and success. I was almost at a loss for words when I realized I may not have ridden a bike, learned the importance of faith, gained the tools to deal with chronic pain or developed an unshakeable self-confidence without these various contributions to my life.
Another lesson learned was that there were no self-serving motivations behind the actions taken by my family members, friends, doctors, spiritual leader or educators. With no apparent tangible gain, each man and woman who received a letter of inspiration gave of their abilities to improve my lot. It is this desire to do “good” outside of extrinsic motivation that has challenged me to do the same for others as much as possible.
There are few points of interest that I wanted to discuss related to this blog:
1. Did the recipients correspond back after receiving the letters?
I expected absolutely nothing from any of the people who I sent these letters of inspiration to. My goal was to bring a smile to their faces and remind them that they are making a difference in their work. Apparently, a smile was not enough from any of the groups who were part of the process.
I came home to a number of gifts and a card of appreciation the week after sending out the letter to my parents.
Every single educator responded favourably to their letter. Two weeks were set aside for the educators. Two sent me kind “thank you” emails with words of encouragement for the future. Another took to Facebook to say “thank you” along with a message that was full of praise and appreciation for the letter. The last of the four educators didn’t necessarily give a formal response to the letter but her flood of tears during the final presentation along with her continual mentorship served as more than a “thank you.”
I have not been in contact with any of the medical professionals beyond sending the letters a few weeks ago. I’m content with the way I felt sending out the letters to know that something positive must have come from receiving them.
Dr. Ralph Dartey of Transforming Life Center, Ottawa, sent me an email offering his appreciation for the letter. He made mention of the fact that he and his family were moved by it and he gave the honour to God for his impact on my life.
Many of my friends came up to me and expressed their gratitude for the video I presented to them. My sister even informed me that it was mentioned in one of her classes at a later point. I am so humbled by the fact that it was able to light up their lives in however small of a manner that it did.
2. Is my desire to complete this process rooted in a desire to truly express appreciation or receive attention and validation from those who I’ve interacted with in the past?
There was really no attention that could be gained from writing these letters. I was going to be exposing myself to loved ones, friends and professionals that I had encountered. As a man, it was fairly difficult to open up and spend time to formally communicate with people from the past and present with no gage as to how they would respond. I can only express appreciation because the alternative to their efforts would have left me in a weakened state where I would struggle to give back to Canadian society. Entering into full time adulthood, I had to do something to show some reciprocity. I could not enter into the workforce and new long term relationships without learning to be vulnerable and one hundred percent honest with myself and others. This exercise has challenged me to find ways to positively affect those I come into contact with daily-stranger or friend.
Below is a short poem penned to outline my thoughts on the journey that led to this blog and experience:
The tools are in place
A piece of a paper and a pen
A mind that is searching for some spark, some extra fuel
The subconscious and the conscious align
As I write down my thoughts line by line
Moments of joy, moments of pain
Times when i’m upset excited or simply entertained
You all played your roles with excellence you did
Led me from mediocrity to greatness continually
Never did I hear a murmur or complaint
Your inner strength propelled you to press on just for me
Committed to goodness, progress and fun times
My life would go nowhere without your impact, providence divine
So as I express this here short poem
I declare and decree
YOU my friend are an inspiration
The process complete I release this piece of art
To show my discovery, the treasure found in life