Tonight I sat here reflecting and connecting the dots. The other evening I was privileged to be part of a gathering of teachers. All of them were people I know in another life. (Gail, I bet you didn't know that). But let's start with that one, since she probably doesn't even really remember this part. A long, long time ago(if your tempted to break out into song, then you know what my life is like), I knew Gail. Her last name was different. Mine was too. I was just a youngster then. My grandma was oh-so-very-sick fighting cancer that was ravaging her body. My Mom had to go be there with her, and us kids, we stayed with Dad.... well, no, not really. We were parceled out to different family members for short periods of time and we even got to ride the bus! (how exciting!) And I think we spent the night, ate breakfast, and then rode the bus with this family who attended the same church that we did. I remember Gail and her sister, Dawn, and eating breakfast there. Gail and Dawn were older than me, high school maybe, and so everything they did was magical to my seven year old mind. As a seven year old, I didn't really dream of being a teacher. Not much anyway. What did I dream of? Being a veterinarian. Today in training we talked about poverty and the "poverty mindset." And one indicator that a person might get out of poverty is having a hope for the future, having a dream in mind of what the future is supposed to look like. And we talked about how some kids don't have that, that we have to help them build that, give them a future to work toward. Anyway, teaching wasn't my "hope," but I had one, I wanted to become a veterinarian when I grew up. And when I went to the farm, I had such a good time, and I remember this ethereal high school girls.... one of those girls is the new teacher friend I met the other night. So we really are connected. This would be an appropriate place to insert Jeremiah 29:11: 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Fast forward a few years. Now I am yearly married to a man who is a little older than me (not information REALLY worth sharing except to say, my ex was a classmate to either Gail or her sister Dawn) and we are raising his two girls. The first year we have them, they are entering Kindergarten and First grade. The next year, the older one of our girls is entering second grade, and gets the most wonderful, loving, compassionate teacher in the world, Mrs. Becker. I met Mrs. Becker in 1991, she was our daughter's teacher for the 91-92 school year. History. I was a young, scared, under-informed, inexperienced, overly opinionated step parent and wife. I needed an ally. And Mrs. Becker was in my corner. Bless her soul. Flash forward to 2014, I reconnected with her on social media and just in the last month have gotten the privilege to see her again IRL (in real life).
Life happens and a few more years pass. And sometime after 1996 and the appearance of a certain red-headed baby on the scene, I met and become friends with Alyce. We met through my home daycare and that young man of hers should feel fiercely loved, his Momma was vigilant to watch out for his best interest. (Alyce has two boys, one of them is driving already, but there was just the one, the older one, when I cared for him in my home daycare). Through Alyce and another mutual friend of ours, Jonette, I met Marilyn. Marilyn worked in a special education classroom at the time and as the years passed I learned to know her through home school also, and church, and well, a lot of ways. I have this one thing to tell about Marilyn..... Marilyn tells the truth. She is totally a tell-it-like-is-not-like-you-wish-it-would-be kind of gal.
Now this girl, here, Carrie Lynn Horn, kept right on moving and lost touch with these people at various times in various stages of living life. In 2012, I rediscovered my friend Alyce, and we connected again. What kind of friend would sacrifice her day to help a friend pack up their home? Alyce would. She is THAT kind of friend. We got together the other night because we are all teachers. We are all looking for encouragement. For me, there is significant encouragement to persevere when I see the change in my own life. That was then, this is now. I hope my friends and colleagues see the difference, I hope they realize I am not the same me that each of them knew sometime long, long ago.