I have a friend who is dying. He was preparing for surgery, but instead, found out that he has stage four malignant melanoma. BOOM! Out of nowhere–he had no clue. The cancer is inoperable and so he has only six months. Now, you’re probably picturing him being in despair, depressed, and down. Yes, he’s had his moments, as can be expected. Today he spoke at our Sunday gathering, and his response is a lesson for us all.
He considers himself blessed beyond means. He can’t comprehend how happy he is. The resulting silence in church said much about the reaction of the congregation. There were four points for us to reflect on, but the first one got me the most.
For, you see, he considers the six months a gift to be able to say goodbye. Wow.
He and his wife went on their long planned cruise anyway. He snorkled. He danced with his best friend of 40 years, his wife. He got to see his brother from Colorado. He is able enjoy life–still.
As I looked around from the balcony while he spoke, eyes were being wiped–even the big burly guys.
What suddenly would be important to you if you were told you had only six months? What suddenly would hold no importance?
We as educators have many blessings in front of us: the students. Is it more important to give of ourselves? Will students remember that act of kindness, or will they instead say, “Wow! I remember how fascinating adjectives were!” Will they remember those awesome lessons on how to better take a standardized test, or will they remember feeling a community in your classroom?
Are we living our lives for others, or ourselves? A teacher can answer that easily: for others.
Thanks, Dan. What a gift you’ve given me.