There were two people in my training today, both who had come as the guests of my hosts, both young people who are well into their careers regarding sexuality and disabilities. They are so young, so passionate, so focussed on what they want to do, and what needs to be done. It gives me great pleasure to meet those who are the up and coming - those to whom I will one day pass the torch.
Both of them quietly made time to speak to me privately. Each was shy but each worked very hard to let me know that my work had influenced them. Each was determined to get through a little speach about how important it was to come and tell me that what I had done had mattered to them.
These are always such difficult moments. For them, trying not to sound trite, for me, knowing what to do with my face. But it is important for them to say, and it's important for me to hear. The need they had to say 'thanks' speaks well for them and their character. The desire to let me know that what I had done had mattered to them let me know that they understood the need that all have to know that what was done, was contributed mattered. For me, always embarrassed by these kind of comments - it simply feels good.
I remember, once, trying to thank someone who had guided me, influenced me, inspired me. She brusquely shoved my thanks aside, she said that she had no need of thanks. I felt shamed. I felt angry. I was completely disallusioned as to who she was as a person.
Whenever this happens I think of her, I wonder if she too was uncomfortable with the praise of others, if she didn't know how to simply listen and accept. So, I hope these two know that the discomfort I felt in the moment didn't diminish the gratitude I feel now.
It's important to say thanks.
It's important to hear thanks.
What a clever way to make the human heart.