Dear Tutu Jone,
Last Sunday was Father’s Day in the UK. Before going to see Dad, I went to church and our senior pastor shared a message about generational promises.
He began his sermon explaining the differences between heritage and inheritance. He spoke about how an inheritance usually refers to property, money, or tangible goods. An inheritance being a physical manifestation of what a person who has passed, leaves for those who are still present. He then spoke about heritage. Heritage being intangible things, such as ideals, knowledge and tradition. By understanding the difference between the two, he was able to tell the story of a church elder who had recently passed. Although he was not rich in belongings, and could not leave much of an inheritance for his family, he left them with great heritage. And that reminded me so much of you.
As I sat there in church, I was reminded of the ideals, knowledge and tradition you have given me. My love for the ocean and all that it contains, comes from you. My love for photography, is something that began the moment you gave me your camera at the foot of the sleeping giant & told me to capture what I see. My love for travelling, is something that you nurtured every single time you took me on a trip. My obsession with chicken and cashew nuts, is also from you. These are all traits that make me the person I am today.
All the conversations we’ve had over the years and the advice you have given me, they are also part of my heritage.
When I was an inquisitive child, you would always find time to answer me, even if my questions were silly. That taught me to be patient with children, because they remember those moments.
When I was a teenager, you told me that it’s okay to hurt, but that I must always, always respect mum and dad. No matter what. That taught me to accept that as humans, we all have faults, but everyone is doing the best they can, and I must respect that.
Whenever you say ‘time and tide wait for no man’, you are teaching me that sometimes in life, haste is needed.
When you asked the woman at McDonald’s for a free ice-cream, you taught me that you’ll never know if you never ask.
Whenever you would call me up to speak in church, and all the places you visited, you taught me to be confident when speaking to large groups of people.
When I had just learnt how to drive, you told me ‘if you are hesitant, don’t do it’. That told me to trust my gut instinct.
And whenever I am at home, and you encourage me to just sit with you on the porch, and listen to the breeze, you are teaching me that sometimes it’s important to be still, and let life take its own course.
These are personal deposits that you have made into my spirit, my being, me. They are part of my heritage, as your grandchild. Your only granddaughter. However, these things are additional to the blessings that the boys and I will receive as a result from your work in the mission field. Part of the sermon last Sunday also highlighted how often individuals do not see the fruit of their work in their own time and get frustrated, but, they should remember that God is a generational God. Sometimes, the fruit of a persons labour is not revealed until one, two or three generations down the line.
So, with this in mind. I’d like to thank you for all you have done. Thank you for the heritage that you have left us. Thank you for all the lives that you have saved and impacted. Thank you for your heart for God and your obedience. Thank you that even though you are almost 80, and as you say, your body is getting old, you do not stop. Thank you that you have paved a way for us, and the heritage you leave us is richer than any silver or gold.
There is so much that I have in my heart for you Tutu, and I’m sure you know that. So this letter is for you. You are someone who has influenced my life, and I have, and continue to see the fruit of your labour, in my life.
I love you, always.
Sainimili – yadre levu xo