To my Gather Friends:
Too often we write and make tributes about someone who means much to us after they are gone. Any tribute is a good thing but it is a shame that we do not give tributes to the heroes in our midst, to those who reach out in kindness to others, to those whose lives influenced us, made us better, inspired us and more while they are yet with us.
Today I need to write a tribute to a lady who has touched my life profoundly though I have never met her face to face. She is a hero in our midst. She is one who reaches out in kindness to others. The beauty of her life influences us even by reading her posts, while at the same time having her as our friend makes us better people for knowing her. By her positive kind support she inspires us to be more than we ever thought we could be. She is the kind of lady that the world needs more of.
The lady I am referring to is our friend Jan S. She is in the hospital very much under the weather just now. I just wish I had written this tribute a week earlier so that she might have read this before going in to the hospital but maybe she will be able to read it when she feels better.
I became a Gather member almost 5 years ago. Jan joined a month or so later. When I joined I wasn't sure if I had any ability to write and quite frankly never had it in mind to write a book or books. The reason I had joined was because as a special ed teacher I needed a creative outlet to let go of some of the stress from my work day. When I taught in cities I acted in community theater as a creative way of relaxing after school but I was too far away from the city to do that.
I thought maybe I would write down some of my stories that I told my children about their aunts, uncles and so on. I made a few feeble attempts at writing with a limited number of people reading my work offering a few constructive comments the first month at Gather. About a month later Jan and few more people like Nancy read my post and offered my first real encouragement for my writing.
From my first post that Jan read she has read every one of my posts since then and always offers encouraging comments. It was Jan that first told me that she liked my work and that she thought that I was a talented writer. It was this encouragement that inspired me to refine my work, to write, write and to write some more. She shared in my successes while in her encouragement she offered positive suggestions.
As Jan was reaching out to me I read her work and enjoyed her photo essays. I saw her beloved lake in all of it's glory in every season. Though I have never been to her lake I feel as though I know it as well as any lake I have actually been on or near. She shared photos of her cats,shared well written well thought out book reviews and more. She always tells me that she is not talented but she has enough talent to spare.
She made a comment to my last post The Weather Of Life "Being under some heavy weather myself right now, this came as a breath of fresh air and inspiration." To Jan the thought that my post may have encouraged you is of highest praise but it is a small down payment for all of the times you have encouraged me, thank you.
Jan when you read this post know that there is so much more that I wanted to write. Also please know that no matter how many words are used to honor you there can never be enough. I know that my hope echoes the hope of others, that you will have a speedy recovery and that as you recover that you will know how much you mean to so many of us.
Kevin A. Ewing
Gather Member and Jan's Friend