Thanks to @MuellerHolly for creating a space for reflection on our spiritual journey each week. This week's topic came from @dashthebook about leaving a legacy. Feel free to read and enjoy our musings on Holly's blog (http://www.hollymueller.blogspot.com/) - or join in on the fun. I'd love to read your reflections as well.
Leaving a legacy - a gift left for generations to come. A story to be shared . . . such a neat concept. We all have our story, our gift to the future, but not all know exactly how it plays out.
For example, you have authors. We know the legacy of the heroes, villains, and ordinary people who walked the face of the Earth in biblical times. The fact that we know it thousands of years later makes me question my choice of the word "ordinary" at all. To me it's extraordinary that I have these stories that shape my life today to help me become the person I want to be.
Then there are musicians. Music feeds the soul in so many ways. The legacy they leave, their mark on the world, can impact for centuries to come. The memories become instant, almost a direct line to the heart. "Canon in D" -- my wedding; "I Will Survive" -- a friend's triumphant war cry in the face of cancer; "What Child is This?" -- my grandmother's church as a child with glorious trees and loving hands.
I could go on -- the artists, the athletes, the people who fought against evil. Their legacies are celebrated, beautiful, sometimes haunting.
But I'm just an ordinary person. I haven't finished a book (yet). I haven't composed a masterpiece (probably not in my skill set). I haven't painting anything that someone beyond my parents would appreciate. I'm just me. A believer. A wife. A mom. A friend. A teacher. Someone who can fade into the woodwork of life.
However, God doesn't let that happen. He is good. He provides. He answers prayers.
So when I start my day with, "God, let me be what You need today. Help me to do Your work." He answers. He moves in ways that I will never know - and when I start to doubt. When I question, "Is this what You want?", he nudges me.
As a teacher, I'm probably seen as an idealistic person. I believe that relationships with kids will move mountains. When those relationships are forged, kids begin to believe in the power of "What if . . . ". They begin to see possibilities that they never knew existed. They begin to trust. That trust is a powerful tool to help them engage in learning, though it's often not a quick process. I fall on my face at times, but I believe if I exhibit grace, grace will be given in return.
I was blessed by a former colleague (1993 - 1996) this week. We taught together in my hometown. I was green then -- just out of college and full of ideas. I really wasn't much older than my students -- 10 or 11 years. (In fact I'd taught many of them swim lessons, babysat, and knew their families socially from my elementary, middle, high school, and college years.) But I loved those kids.
I can still see them. Once a student enters the room, he/she enters my heart. It's kind of a messy thing -- caring -- it allows for failures, follies, and a million powerful moments. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done. It was also one of the most rewarding.
I'm friends with a few on Facebook. I treasure seeing what they've done with their lives. I love seeing them embrace life as adults -- they are now teachers, professors, professional actors, bakers, designers, architects, parents, etc. They are doing things that were only dreams when they were in 7th grade.
Anyway, this week, my colleague shared a story with me:
Hi Amy. I had surgery on my Achilles' tendon Wednesday and saw several former WRMS students during the process. My post op nurse was a former student of yours named Kelly A......... She credits you with turning her life around. She was hanging with the wrong crowd. She stated that you cared more about her than she cared about her self. She and her mother are so grateful to you. Today she is a delightful, professional who took good care on me. I had to pass it on to you.
I cried. Of course I remember her. I can still see her as a 7th grader . . . and a lump of happiness sits in my throat. I'm honored by the gift of these words. A gift of the power of relationship in the classroom.
You see -- this is the legacy that I want to leave. It isn't really about me at all -- it's that I want to be open to Him and how He needs to use me as a person.
So my challenge to myself this year is to listen -- to continue to focus on the person He needs me to be.
That may be the greatest legacy of all --