This was the letter I wrote to Melinda for Megan's marathon scrapbook. I want to post it here, because it sums up how Melinda has changed my life, and/or why she is so important to me. I know everybody else said their messages last fall, and though I'm late, here's mine.
I've never tried to thank someone for reshaping my destiny (especially not in 250 words or less), so I'm notsure how to go about it. Since this scrapbook is for the marathon, I have to tell you that my part in it was minimal. All I did is make a donation to a worthy cause. I joined the backups seven weeks ago, so I didn't have time to do much else, but I want to tell you the ways in which my life is blessed because of you.
Your beautiful speaking and singing voice got my attention. It was your way of being that changed my life. I went blind shortly after birth, but I grew up with complete confidence that I was going to make a difference in the world. I got as far as a degree in psychology, and then I lost my remaining light perception. That wasn't so bad, but it caused a severe sleep disorder, which left me unable to work. Overnight, I became everything I feared, everything I didn't want to be, everything I had vowed I'd never be. My most prized posession in this world was gone, my independence. I lost touch with friends, because I felt that I had nothing to offer in a friendship. I can't think of much that feels worse for an adult than knowing you're so richly blessed and that you should be blessing someone else, but finding no ways to help that won't create burdens for others. For a very long time, I existed, but I did not live,,, until I heard you sing.
Something about your voice, or maybe just the way you presented yourself, awakened me from that slumber of self-doubt. I wanted to buy MFV and see your Idol performances again, and that motivated me to buy a computer, something I had resisted because I had lost my self-confidence and I didn't believe I could learn such a complex and dynamic visual environment (Windows and the Internet) using only speech. "Experts" in the field told me it would be a year and a half before I could learn enough to go online. So I taught myself, using software help systems and manuals. I made it online in 36 hours. I found the backups' forum, and new friends. The backups welcomed me, accepted me, and gave me a chance to make a difference in the world with projects for Malaria No More. I had come to believe I couldn't make a difference for anybody else, if I couldn't even make one for myself. My new friends liked my writing, and they encouraged me to pursue it as a career instead of just a passion. They started encouraging eight days ago, and I'm in an online writers' workshop, as well as a website where I can write for money. However meager the beginning, I'm just glad to be doing something worthwhile. None of these things would have happened without your influence.
Somebody asked me once, if I knew what an angel was, since I couldn't see representations of them, or hear them, or touch them. This is what I see.,,, Angels wear halos of faith, that shine with the softest of lights, because they know that a harsh light would push people away. They live their faith sweetly and simply, because they know that demanding faith from others is no way to show the meaning of God's love. They share their blessings even when they have very little, and because of their generosity, others are motivated to share, until the world is no longer in need. They love to give, because they know that to give is to truly receive. They are gracious and humble, because they know the truth of everything is in the Lord's praise of them, not man's. They are joyous in their faith, because they know their home is with Jesus. They speak in gentle voices that make kings and princes bend down to listen, and commoners stand up to be counted. They have wings of music they can spread over the world, so they can reach all the souls who need them through the sound of an universal language that defies all communication barriers, and when they have brought all the lost and needy souls close to listen, they fold their musical wings, so that all the souls come together to form a family, where the strengths of each cancels out the weaknesses of the others. This is my description of an angel, and I hope it won't freak you out or make you feel uncomfortable, if I tell you that I believe you are an angel to this world. Thank you so much, Melinda,,, for everything. It is an honor to be one of your backups.