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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How Do You Learn To Be A Teacher? By Witnessing Excellence.

Lessons Learned

Maybeth: A Life of Serving Others

In retirement, one is compelled to reflect on a career, on life, and on moments that shaped, defined, and solidified the commitment to and affirmation of a particular path or life trajectory. One is compelled to consider opportunities, open doors, and answered prayers that brought great confidence and great hope to each faith-filled step forward through the years. One is compelled to recall with excellent fondness the beautiful individuals whose gifted, gracious lives indelibly touched and deeply inspired one’s own  dreams and subsequently one’s own work. One such individual for me was Maybeth.  Maybeth was a member of the church I grew up in. She was a teacher whose amazing life tremendously influenced and inspired my teaching.  Maybeth was born in the late 1800’s. Her sharp, inquisitive mind and fierce commitment to learning propelled her to the top of her class each year in school. She went off to college where she studied to be a teacher. In college she met the love of her life and they were married soon after graduating. With great hopes and dreams and nothing but brilliant promise before them, they set out to share their gifts and touch the world. Within a year or two, however, her sweetheart and soul mate unexpectedly passed away. Devastation seared her heart ,and her shattered dreams lay shrouded in the black agony of deep excruciating loss.  How do you forge ahead, so young, alone? Maybeth chose to pour herself completely into her teaching, her students, and service to others around her.  She became the life-changing teacher that students never forgot. During the summers, Maybeth would travel to Taiwan and teach English to children in an orphanage. Every summer throughout her teaching career and then beyond. The children loved her and she loved them. When ultimately the day came that she could no longer make the trip to Taiwan, she chose to use her sewing machine to make clothes for the children at the orphanage. Every summer, she sent many large boxes of beautiful home-made clothing  stitched and packed with the greatest of love to the precious children who held her heart. She gave all she had to do all that she could and in so doing she brought infinite blessing to countless others, which in turn filled her heart with wonderful and immeasurable joy.  The inspiration of her passion has rippled for generations. Her life lived for others taught me.