Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Knowing that someone believes in you is one of the most wonderful gifts to receive, and one of the most loving gifts to be able to give. In a world full of naysayers and those who discourage, that person who believes in you is like a light shining bright and true. A person who believes in you, who instills confidence and courage and says yes, it can be done... someone who fans the flames of your dreams,  and lights a match to give your dreams light and life, is a rare gift and wonderful mentor. That gift and mentor was my cousin Jack, my Mom's favorite cousin. This morning I learned he had passed away. I was going to do a blog post about my visit to the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens and their amazing rose garden, but it seems more appropriate to use these photos and talk about Jack, who loved gardens and gardening and roses and being outdoors. He loved working among beautiful things whether they were people or plants. He was one of those rare people in life that your noticed because of his quiet presence that was compelling. He loved life, he loved living, he loved encouraging others, he was the father that my father never was.

While I was going through my divorce, Jack was always checking in on me to make sure I was OK. He would send me articles in the mail he thought would be helpful. One of them was about Flickr. He knew my love of photography and encouraged me to join, telling me it would be a good way to learn and improve my photography in a  community, and was free!  I put that article away for a few months, then found it and opened a Flickr account.  That one little thing Jack did, completely changed my life. We never know when these little things we do for people might be something extraordinary in their life. I told him it was because of him that my life changed - from that one little thing, from joining Flickr and making new friends and learning so many new things, it put me and my art and photography where I am right now. I'm forever grateful to him for caring enough to take the time to do that, and to encourage and to believe. How wonderful are people who care enough to do these little things that are such big things. He was a big believer in paying it forward and helping others. 

These wonderful encouragers of dreams, the mentors who say yes you can, I believe in you... they are such bright lights in this world. And now one of them is gone. RIP Jack Kasper, you were loved. You were one in a million. 

Encourage dreams. Take time to listen. Be a light. Look someone in the eye and tell them you believe in them. Each time I do these things I'll think of Jack.