“What we have once enjoyed and deeply loved, we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us” -Helen Keller
I’ve always been a teacher. From the time I was little, I thrived in the “classroom”, whether it was “bossing around” neighborhood kids when I was 5, organizing play and creating backyard theatre, or the basement classroom I put together when I was a bit older to teach all of the “little kids” during the Wednesday night family Bible study in my parent’s home.
I went on to pursue a career in education and taught art for 10 years. I’ve taught women’s groups, children’s ministries, I’ve spoken in churches and classrooms of all kinds.
I’m a mother, so by default I get to teach every day. Life lessons. Practical skills. Hard stuff. Fun stuff. Motherhood is teaching at it’s very finest.
I also love learning. I loved being in the classroom both as a teacher and as a student. I still love sitting under the teaching of passionate hearts. I read. I observe. I expose my mind to ideas.
I’ve always learned the most, however, in those “ah-ha” moments that just come through living and really allowing myself to experience life. I’ve taught some of the finest lessons “off the cuff” simply because they bubbled up in my heart in a moment.
Once again, I find myself in a classroom. Sometimes sitting at the desk and taking it all in. Sometimes standing in the front of the class pouring out my heart.
This classroom of life doesn’t hand out a syllabus. Much of life is like a pop-quiz. Like a multiple choice test with answers that aren’t necessarily right or wrong.
This time, I’ve been handed a textbook called, “Grief”, and the pages are blank.
I am both the writer of this text and the observer.
In living, I am learning.
In breathing, I am expanding my soul.
In speaking to you, I am validating the journey of my heart. It becomes real as the words hit the pages.
I am student. I am teacher.
I decided that I would learn and that I would allow every each experience in my life to make me stronger and wiser and more compassionate. I have experienced pain in relationships, beautiful miracles, life’s disappointments, great triumphs, the beauty of deep love, and the pain of unspeakable loss. These places have been my classroom. The places are where I have learned the most about who I am, who I long to become, and the beauty that can come by embracing the place of both joy and pain.
I will always be a mother who has lost a son. That will never change. The thought of it will bring pain for as long as I live. As I close my eyes and see his face, my chest will cave, my breath will catch. It is now part of my experience in this life. It is part of who I am, and it is shaping who I am becoming, but is not my equivalent.
I promise you, I will not be destroyed. I will live. I will learn. I will become stronger, wiser and more compassionate.
Every experience in this life has the potential to create beauty.
EVERY. SINGLE. EXPERIENCE.
I’m not just spouting off platitudes here, my friends. This is truth.
I know. I’ve lived in before in so many other parts of my story.
I’m living it again in this one.