I received this in e-mail a few days ago, and asked the author for permission to post it on the blog.  I'll leave it up to him to decide if he'll be taking credit via the comments.
The author was inspired to write as he reflects on a new assignment that will take him away from Notes/Domino  I was touched by the intensity of the emotion, but not just for its own sake.  I don't know what I could possibly add to this, other than I am confident that it reflects on how many of us feel:

I started working with Notes four-and-a-half years ago, when I was tapped to support a team of three contractors building the new corporate Intranet, on Domino. I only knew Notes from E-Mail and a failed attempt at integrating a consultant-written Notes application with a mainframe DB2 system.

In the first few months of supporting the consultants as they built the system, I began to see the promise of using Domino. I was able to take my first development class or two and got a chance to dig into some of the basics of the Notes Client when I wrote the user guide for those associates designated to become "Content Administrators" for the Intranet. Shortly after that we hired an experienced Notes developer, who was able to help get me a bit of a jump-start. I began to develop applications and learned several new skills. Certifications followed, with the receipt of a PCLP in R5 Application Development, upgraded to R6 last year at Lotusphere

During the past few years, it's the people associated with Notes that have made working with the product special to me. I've surfed Notes.Net as well as the various Lotus/IBM/developerWorks web sites. I've read The View, Lotus Advisor and e-Pro Magazine. I've attended the past two Lotuspheres in person, and attended a "Lotusphere Comes To You" the year before that.

I'll never forget the first opening session I attended (Lotusphere 2003) - it should  be remembered, for all the glitter and gala that it was. But it was during the rest of the conference that my eyes were really opened to the community  that is Notes. I struck up conversations (not that many people had to be prodded) at each breakfast and lunch, between sessions (if I had a break) at the Birds-of-a-Feather meetings and during the trips to and from the hotel (on property) and talked about Notes - and everyone was more than willing to share their experiences working with various products and tools. It was then and there that I was drawn fully and completely into the community.

One person spent a good half-hour showing me her company's implementations of QuickPlace, and described the kind of return-on-investment they were receiving. Another talked about Java development at their company. I spoke at length with a couple of people about certain workflow applications we'd created with Domino. I still have many of their business cards, and have traded E-Mail messages with them, on-and-off. The "Meet the Developer" sessions were great - worth the price of admission alone, perhaps. And the Notes/IBM'ers that I've met at the conference have all been willing to listen, help, advise or find someone who could answer a question.

And [now] I'm moving from the Notes community to the world of SAP. As we still have a fair number of Notes applications to support, I'd suggest that I'll continue to be involved in Notes development activities for a while. And I'm trying to find a way to "keep my hands in" Notes development - more than likely by working on various things at home. But I know that I'll be drawn away from Notes and toward SAP, away from the community that I, well, love to be a part of.

Some may say that it's the same everywhere, but I don't think so. I don't think it'll be the same with SAP. Some may say that you simply move on, which I'll have to do, of course. Some may say that there really isn't a Notes "community" at all, but I know there is, because it's been as much a part of me as I am of it.

So to you and all the other IBM'ers, consultants and Notes officianados. . .keep the faith!

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