Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thank You: Inspiring Words to Keep Pushing On

In the past, I have posted letters and messages from friends who offered kind words of encouragement when I was going through harder times. I posted them because they inspired me and because they were words I hoped I would internalize and thereby become a catalyst for change. I am fortunate to say that things took a very positive turn for me in February when I was reassigned to a new site and a new primary project. From that point on, I have had the kind of service that I could only have dreamed of. It was the most perfect change for me and has provided me with opportunities I couldn't have imagined. All of that being said, it struck me as odd that I haven't shared any of the letters and messages offered to me since everything turned around. These words are every bit as special and encouraging to me and bring tears to my eyes when I read them. They are so meaningful, especially in light of how far my service has come. So I want to share one such letter with you now. This letter is written by a long-time and very dear friend of mine - someone who has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, having been a close friend of my father's since their youth. Since I first received this, I have re-read his words and they have encouraged me to keep pushing on and keep trying to do more. So I have to say, Tommy, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are kind in a way that makes my heart smile. You are inspiring me and making my service even more special because of the faith you have in me. It means the world. Here is what he had to say:

Hi Tija,
Sweetie, you don't ever have to apologize to me for something that I barely acknowledge anymore. Especially now, as I get older, birthdays are becoming less and less important. What you are doing, what you have done, what you are GOING to do...those things are important. VERY important. You are building a legacy that I am proud to be able to watch, learn from and be a part of, even if it's just as an observer from afar.
More envious I could not be of your family travelling all that way to see you and your 'other' family as well as all your co-workers and friends and having the experience of a lifetime. Your Mom's and Jena's blogs were inspiring, to say the least and the pictures were amazing.
I read that there is talk of you staying there for another term...is that correct? Whatever your decision, I can't imagine anyone not understanding and wishing you the best. We are all so proud of you and what you have accomplished so far, you have no idea. I believe that this is just the beginning of a career that even you can't fully imagine, a 'tip of the iceberg' thing. And I want nothing more than to watch it grow, flourish and bloom, just as the work you are doing now is growing in the same sort of way, thanks to you. I believe that these dignitaries, whether they come from Africa or the US, are being routed to where you are working for a reason and of course, in my mind, the reason is you. Maybe I'm wrong but even if I am, I still find what you do to be compelling and deeply rooted in passion, a passion for people in need, a passion for change and an amazing passion for a better life for everyone.
I have said this to you in the past but I'll say it again...lots of people 'talk-the-talk' and throw money at things, sometimes for the right reasons but oftentimes it's done just to make themselves feel better about themselves. Very few people 'walk-the-walk' and sweetie, you are one of those 'very few'. And the 'walk' you are taking is affecting so many people in such a positive way that it's almost impossible to imagine you NOT doing something for the good of the planet and its' people, wherever they may be, whatever their needs. You truly are an amazing and unique woman and I don't believe I have ever known anyone in my life who inspires ME more than you.
I still look forward to reading your blog, 'hearing' the pride in your 'voice' just from your writings. I know what you are doing is difficult, very difficult. I have 'heard' you at times when you seemed like you might crumble, given in to the loneliness or the pain or the fear or the absolute frustration that arises in all things worth doing. But you have risen above it each and every time and again, you have shown the strength of character that you possess and that, to me, as well as everyone who knows you and is following your journey, 
is awe-inspiring and I absolutely could not mean that more!
Kudos, kid---kudos...and continued success!
Thank you again for the birthday wishes and I hope that when your birthday comes around and you don't hear anything from me, it will not be because I don't care...it will be because I am a scatter-brain who is unable to remember ANYTHING!!!!
With love and a deep sense of pride,

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