*It’s hard to believe Day 22 of the Dear Gratitude project has arrived! Only eight more days of letters from eight more wonderful guest writers. Today’s post is by LaDonna Busby, a friend and fellow church member.*
This thank you is long overdue, and it is going to someone long dead. Why do we wait to express our gratitude to those who cross our paths in this life? We need to remember to say thank you, even if we have to send letters read by someone other than the intended person. So here goes:
Dear Mrs. McGrath,
I wonder if you ever knew what a wonderful gift you gave me – something that I have cherished my whole life long. You introduced me to READING! For that great gift, I want to say thank you, and I am sorry it has taken me over 50 years to express this gratitude.
Oh, the people and places you enabled me to meet and visit. I still remember you patiently helping us to learn “Look Jane, look. See Spot run. Oh, look Jane, see Spot.”
Thus began my adventures with some sweet characters, some not so sweet. Many are like dear friends when I think of them. Amy, Beth, Meg and Jo from Little Women – each one a different personality woven into a story that young girls can enjoy even today. I still have a treasured copy of that book. There were so many others – The Bobbsey Twins (Bert and Nan, Flossie and Freddie); Laura Ingalls; Hester Prynne from “The Scarlet Letter”, Jane Eyre; David Copperfield; Romeo and Juliet; Tom Sawyer, and the list could go on and on.
Not only did I get to know some wonderful characters, but I also got to travel without even leaving my cozy chair. Through reading I have traveled the world over, learning many interesting things, seeing so many beautiful places – even if only in my mind and imagination. Of course not all places are wonderful, but I traveled where the books took me. Nowadays, a lot of my reading is about places of trouble and sadness. Places of war, poverty and cruelty – but I read on filled with hope that some time I will read that things have improved for some country or its people.
Your gift has blessed my life in so many ways. Reading is so important to me. I have been able to read the letters sent by my brother when he was in Vietnam. There have been cards – birthday, anniversary, get well, thank yous, invitations, and notes of sympathy. Just think what I would have missed if I had not been able to read.
I am able to read the Bible. Through my reading of scripture, I have become stronger in my faith. My faith is so important to me, and I cannot imagine being unable to read the Word of God. The Bible is filled with stories, characters and places. You can read it over and over, each time getting something new and powerful from the reading.
I passed on this gift to my daughter, Susan, who loves to read. I don’t quite like her choice of books – she loves the author Stephen King – but I am happy to see her read. Now we are passing this love along to her sons. The oldest had quite a struggle learning to read – but thanks to a compassionate and caring teacher, like you, he conquered that mountain and now loves to read. So, you see your gift to me just keeps going and going.
I wish I had gone back to Mitchell Elementary and thanked you. When we are young, we don’t think to do things like that; it is only as we begin to mature that we realize what has been given to us. Thank you, Mrs. McGrath, for being my 1st Grade teacher. You were a kind and gentle woman who helped many children to begin a journey that will last their whole lives. Please know, there is at least this one student who will forever be grateful.
LaDonna Wittke Busby