“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” – There’s a quote you’ll see on our site quite often.
Easier said than done, right?
Yes, probably. It’s hard to change. It’s even harder to admit to yourself that you NEED to change. Both of those things have to happen before positive movement forward can take place. If you don’t feel like things are moving the right direction, then you have to break old habits and form new ones to lead you in a different, more positive direction.
Why bring this up? Because today my mom received a letter from an ex-tenant that moved out several years ago, and I’ve found it oddly inspiring, and a great example of positive change. Now, before you read the letter, pictured below, you need to know a little bit of the backstory;
Here’s the gist: The woman had lived in my moms rental house for a couple of years, but in the last several months of her occupancy, she stopped paying rent. When my mom came to check on the house and figure out a plan for her to move out, she found lots of… stuff. I mean, LOTS… of stuff. The tenant was a hoarder. Mounds, upon mounds of things filling up every room. Trash mixed with electronics mixed with clothes….. even her late husband’s urn was somewhere in one of those piles. She truly had a problem and didn’t know where to begin to change.
So, my mom, being the overly kind landlord that she is, agreed to help the tenant clean out her belongings, help her move, and agreed not to take her to court for past-due rent on a promise. A promise that the woman would change, get help, and would eventually repay her debts.
That was more than 3 years ago.
Today, my mom received this letter:
(Letter text: In my recovery, I learn to actually live a life. Not just exist. One of the things I’ve learned, is to make amends to people I’ve hurt along the way and pay my dues. And you are one of them. I have always believed that people that never paid rent was considered stealing. And I don’t steal, but I did with you, by not keeping up with the payments. I want a clean record with you and I plan on owing you what’s owed to you in full and written off in full.
Florence, you have always been good to me, and I can never forget what you wrote to me on the last letter you wrote me and it has always meant a lot fo me…. “I look forward to helping you move on to your new life.” and I left you out. I felt badly for doing that. I hope you forgive me for what I have done. I know I will feel great again and I know I did the right thing by paying all I owe you. I now live a great life. I love my work and the people………)
I felt compelled to share this for several reasons:
#1: I remember telling my mom, back when my mom was helping the woman clean out the house, that I thought my mom was being too lenient and kind. I was wrong.
It’s OK to believe in someone. My mom believed the tenant would change, and she did.
#2: Change takes time. I don’t think anyone (especially not myself) believed that my mom would ever see the past due rent, never the less a letter like this one accompanying it. My doubts got greater with each passing year. But, again, I was wrong. You can’t rush change.
#3: Write a handwritten letter. It’s one of the most personal, sincere things left that we can do for each other. If this note had been an email, I probably wouldn’t have shared it. There’s something about adding that personal touch that makes the difference.
My Challenge To You: Change.
Make one small change to your lifestyle or daily routine that can point you in a more positive direction. Make the change, stick to the change, and see what results come of it…. even if it takes a few years.