This blog post is from Aikido Center student Sarah and her personal blog at http://chasingaiki.weebly.com/
Thank you. In this past year, you've helped me more than I could have hoped for. Without knowing, you always said the right things, at the right time. You encouraged me every step of the way. Some days, I probably didn't deserve it, but there you were, telling me “Stand up! Stay focused!”. You saw potential in me that I couldn't see even on my best day. I am so grateful for your encouragement, I wouldn't be the person I am today without your help.
Thank you for pushing me harder every single day I stepped on the mat. For telling me to believe in myself, and for believing in me when I couldn't. Each of you have a special place in my life. You accepted me as I was one year ago, when I walked into my first class. When I was broken, grieving, scared and felt so alone. You welcomed me into the “family” with a smile, and a throw, or a couple.... thousand.
You've laughed with me, comforted me when I've cried. You gave me advice when I asked, and when I didn't. You helped me face the darkest day in my life thus far with a courageous spirit that I didn't know I was capable of. You have inspired me to be a better person, just by being yourself. I am so grateful for you, and so proud to be one of your students.
You have brought new perspective to my life, and have taught me a great deal about living. You have taught me to face my fears, and to let them go. You taught me to smile in moments of pain, and to cry in moments of happiness. For that, I can only say again... thank you.
I have only seen a glimpse of your generosity you hold. Just that glimpse... astounds me. I can't tell you how much I respect you. Your journey you have taken, I know I can't follow those steps fully. We all have our own way, but I want to end up at the same place you are... I want to one day guide the like-minded in this journey that never ends. If I touch just one life, the way you have mine... I would consider this journey successful.
I cannot thank you enough for what you have done for me, and what you will continue to in the years to come. So, please... Continue to be yourself. Please, continue to teach, I will be there, listening, with an accepting spirit. Continue the quest for this knowledge... Just know I want to receive more. I want more knowledge, more advice, more encouragement. What you can pass to me, in time, and when I am ready for it, I am willing to receive it.
(domo arigatou gozaimashita)