Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"I never Got to Thank You"

Monica over at Girl Gone Thread Wild shares some of the coolest stuff with us ... recently I came across "A Thank You Letter To My Oma (for charity)". She was prompted to write this beautiful thank you in response to this post: "I Never Got to Thank You" from Bill over at Loving Her Beautiful ... I checked out the project and it spoke to me ... so I posted a comment letting Bill know that I would be sure to send him a contribution before the weekend was through ... well ... that was June 6th ... I had sooooo many issues with this and totally got caught up in over thinking the whole thing.

I started (and scrapped) more than a dozen letters and find myself getting more and more despondent with each attempt ... I actually wrote one Thank You to the Moon & Stars that was sooooooo over the top, you'd blush in embarrassment for me. Seriously. (Though I actually do think that thanking the moon and stars is a pretty good idea).

Initially I started to write a thank you to Amy Walker. She was a waitress at the Jacksonville, FL Bombay Bicycle Company back in 1987 (I worked there, too, as a busser). That year for my birthday she gave me a slim hard covered pocket book of William Blake poems - one that has his artwork in it - and the coolest/lovliest crane card ... and for some reason this has stuck with me all these years (yes, I still have the book ... and the card). Sounds good, right? Obviously this girl had some sort of impact on me. Plus, I think it's pretty cool that I ended up with her last name. OK, good idea ... until it dawned on me that I can't recall anything about her other than she had shoulder length dark brown hair & left for Auburn shorlty after my birthday ... how weird. Does this mean that I have held onto her memory all these years simply because she wrote, "dip him in the water, he who loves to learn" on the inside of the book???

Then there's Mrs. Looman - an English teacher of some unknown grade ... how can I thank her if I can't remember what grade it was?!? I know it couldn't have been earlier than junior high and definitely before college. I've always liked teachers that challenged me and my thinking. She did that ... and more. Mrs. Looman had a groovy haircut.

How about H.G. Bergstrom who was at least 152 years old when I first met him. I was barely out of high school and working at a copy center. He came in with a 300+ page book that he had written and needed to make 3 copies of - this is over 20 years ago and 3 copies of 300+ pages was easily a four hour job - maybe more. That four hours was some of the best time that I have ever spent with a stranger. He was one of the most interesting men I have ever had the pleasure of speaking with. Believe it or not, we exchanged addresses that day and actually kept in touch for a while after that first meeting.

I could thank my dad for being such a great dad ... until he stopped being a great dad. Hmmm ... I sense deep seeded issues there. Probably not a good idea.

Or Robin ... my very best girlfriend for many, many (including the most formative) years. This was a girl that was a serious touchstone in my life ... I'm fairly certain the majority of good (as in proper/right) decisions I have made in my lifetime can be directly traced back to me asking myself, "what would Robin do?". Nope - I should thank her directly ... which leads me to a list that's at least a half page long of people that I need to write a Thank You to that I actually can ...
See what I mean? And where does it stop? There are soooooo many people (and places ... and even things) that have come in and out of my life and made an impact on me ... took part in shaping the who I am today. Aha! That's the ticket! A letter to the Universe ...

Dear Moon & Stars,

ok, so uber spouse thought it was a good idea to send Bill that whole thing. It was late and I was tired, so I did ... but for a few days after that I kept getting this nagging feeling about not doing the "assignment" right and I couldn't get HG out of my head, so ... I wrote this:

Dear H.G. Bergstrom,

I'm not sure you'd even remember my face, let alone my name, but it's been 22 years since I met you and I still find myself thinking of you often. You came into my life on such an ordinary day. I was just a kid working at a print shop and on this particular day you walked in with a book that you had just finished writing. You needed to make copies and I was lucky enough to be the one to help you (though, to be honest, I didn't feel lucky at first). The book was your history. 300+ pages. While we set to getting your task accomplished you shared with me so many of the stories that book held. Listening to you was such a treat for me. It also taught me so much more than I realized at the time. The years (and their wisdom) marked your face with kind features and deep laugh lines. Your life, adventures and the changes that you witnessed seemed so incredible to me, but your spirit is what I remember the most. There was a quiet gentleness about you, a calmness - you just might be the first person I ever realized was comfortable in their skin. That simple visit changed the way I look at the world. Because of you I know that everyone ... every single person ... has a story worth telling. A story worth hearing. Because of you I have been less quick to judge and more open to listen. I have had the pleasure of meeting people and hearing stories that I might not have if not for you and that wonderful day. Thank you for taking the time to talk with that kid, for sharing your story and listening to hers. Your simple gesture helped me become a much better person and I am forever grateful to you.

With a happy heart & much love always,


OK - your turn! Bill is still collection thank you's for his project.


girl_gone_thread_wild said...

Michelle, I'm so happy that your letter was the FIRST thing I read this morning. Like you I've had MANY folks come in & out of my life, a process at times I felt cruel though later learned it had a purpose.

My mom always said, "it's like seasons," you learn and move on to teach it to someone else or however it would work out...

either way I knew that people stopped in and shared their lives even if only for a second.

I think it's thrilling to know that you & I have learned so much from each other and we haven't ever met.

How exciting to sit and listen to someones stories, a stranger and absorb that knowledge that would carry on with you into eternity.

I feel like I should go thank him as YOU are a spectacular human being- so full of energy and LOVE for life!

Thank YOU for sharing your story and even the process. To the moon & stars... I truly believe they know your gratitude.

Shine on you crazy diamond, SHINE ON.

your friend, Monica :)

3rdEyeMuse said...

wow ... how did you know that was exactly what the doctor had recommended?

mermaid musings said...

i love it too and i have been meaning to participate in this project, too, so many things (sigts!)
i am going to quit my day job...LOL, of course not!!!
but for sure i need more time to play, LOL ;-)
Are you ready for Vanessa's party?
I am !!!

MJ said...

Thanks for popping by my blog and leaving a supporting comment. My dh has the green thumb; I am generally happy to have the black thumb except where it relates to flowers. I apparently can't pick/choose when I get to use a green thumb. Cursed!

This was a moving post. It made me reflect on the various people who have entered/exited my life. I might keep the idea afloat as a possible future post! Thanks for sharing!