Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Date: Fri 7/30/2004 5:20 AM
Random Thought: Galatians 6:9

Well, it's 4:55 a.m. I walked this morning with a warm feeling enveloping me. It wasn't because the sun had bathed me in its rays, although I felt I was being sun-baked in the pre-dawn darkness. It was not really because of the steamy humidity that made my body feel as if I had been blanched. My warmth was an inner glow emanating from an unexpected message I had received the other day. Coming out of the blue from a student whom I'll call Joel, it made me think today of tomorrow. Tomorrow. Sounds like a singing Little Orphan Annie, doesn't it. It's a good word to include in my Dictionary of Good Teaching for Kenny, but today I'll refer to another book. This is why.

"You probably don't remember me, but I remember. I always remember," read the opening line of Joel's message. "You helped me help me to save my tomorrows and the tomorrows of my daughter. Thank you!" read his second sentence. "I remember you used to always say as I screwed up in class you can't climb mountains if you only practice on mole hills. Guess what. I literally did just that. I have climbed and road marched for miles and miles over mountains with about 75 lbs on my back, a promask strap to my leg, kevlar, LCE, and a M16 A2 rifle." Then, he sent his Jewish guy scrambling to a copy of the New Testament when he wrote, "I came across Galatians 6:9 in my Bible one night and said to myself, 'That's Schmier. I want to be that too.'"

That passage reads: "Be not weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not." Now, I'm no Bible thumper, but what a heck of a guiding passage for any teacher!

" due season we shall reap if we faint not."

There is no end to invigorating beauty for the teacher to discover each day who is aware. On the streets this morning, at the end of my walk, focusing on Joel's words, my senses noticed the cracks in the asphalt street. I got down on my haunches, leaned over, and gently touched them. At first glance they seem so ugly. Unwanted imperfections. At first touch they seemed so rough. Undesirable faults. Yet, if we had the artist's eye, we'd see something extraordinary in the supposed faulty mundane, something far from unsightly and untouchable. If we had the artist's eye and were to take snapshots of those cracks and blow up the photographs, we'd realize that the street's supposed ugly spider veins are geometric patterns of amazing beauty and that we walk on unnoticed elegance, grandness, and splendor every day.

" due season we shall reap if we faint not."

We teachers should never forget that; we should always think about that, be aware of that, be sensitive to that. It means that each today we are what I'll call "tomorrow-ers." It means each student is a tomorrow of this country. It means we surely do not know today what the tomorrows before us hold. It means we don't know today who holds the tomorrows! It means that the choices we make today make the changes and affect the transformations that create the tomorrows for both ourselves and others. It means the choices we make and live today make the changes and transformations that create the tomorrows. It means if we get our act together each today, if don't squander today's opportunities, if we keep on working, if we keep on believing, tomorrow will bring wonders. It means, then, today we hold tomorrow in our hands, we hold hands with each tomorrow, and we had best tend that responsibility very, very carefully.

"You were right to get in my face. What you said was mostly right on. Boy, you threw some hard questions at me about me," he went on to write. "I didn't want to hear them at the time. But, you were right. You do have to sweat. You've got to give all you've got. You've got to leave it all on the playing field or the battlefield, everywhere. Hard and challenging is what makes anything important you told me over and over again. I've thought about that during all my training and have learned that it's when you struggle that you get stronger to reach your potential and accomplished impossible things. Gosh, so many of your words for the day are coming back. Like there's a difference between hard and impossible or impossible things are done everyday or don't try, just do or keep your eye on the doughnut and not on the hole. Now I'm going to climb the most challenging mountain when I get custody of my daughter and am responsible for her tomorrows and it's my turn to teach her like you taught me by living what Paul wrote."

" due season we shall reap if we faint not."

I vaguely remember Joel. I don't really remember our conversations in detail. It has been a long time and many students ago. I do know this. It would have been so easy to have thrown away this tomorrow. It would have been easy to say that it wasn't my job to deal with issues other than the subject material that were affecting his performance inside and outside class. It doesn't take any time or energy or effort to let someone go unloved by ignoring him or her, to make someone feel unworthy by not noticing him or her, to make someone feel unwanted by not caring about him or her.

" due season we shall reap if we faint not."

Joel has reminded me if we don't reach out to touch a student every today, if we don't struggle to help a student transform, we're guaranteed of throwing away a bunch of tomorrows. Sure, that takes a lot of sweat-time. Sure, there will be the aches and pains. Sure, challenges will arise. Sure, problems will appear. Sure, there'll be resistance. Sure, there won't always be success. Sure, we'll make mistakes. Sure, there'll be rejections. Sure, we'll get dejected. Sure, there'll be the naysayers. Sure, there'll be detractors. Sure, there'll be lies and cheating. Sure, fear will nip at our heels. Sure, we'll get tired. Sure, we'll get disappointed. Sure, you may not be appreciated. Sure, you'll get frustrated. Sure, we'll get upset. Sure, there are no guarantees things are going to go the way we planned and hoped. Sure, there are all these challenges and risks, but, then again, there are all those Joels out there, all those tomorrows whose sun is waiting and wanting to rise, who make it all worthwhile.

" due season we shall reap if we faint not."

I have discovered that I won't throw away that tomorrow, especially those who are most in need unless I don't have a vision or sense of purpose, or I lose sight of the vision I have, or I forget the purpose which I avow, or I ignore my credo, or I allow myself to get distracted, or I let myself get thrown off-course, or I submit to the pressure of naysayers, or I lose my passion, or I stop practicing compassion, or I stop loving, or I stop believing, or I lose hope, or I get my priorities confused, or I have a faint heart, or I tire in my effort, or I let disappointments and frustrations go to and control my head and heart.

" due season we shall reap if we faint not."

It means it's all me. It means it's all my choosing. It means making "whenever possible" always possible. It means always seeing the beauty and sacredness and richness in each and every today to open tomorrow's golden treasures. It means heeding the call, as Viktor Frankl might say, from each student of a potential meaningfulness waiting to be fulfilled. It mean hanging on. It means staying the course. It means never surrendering. It means weathering whatever inner or outer storms come up. It means screw pessimism, doubt, fatigue, fear, and routine. It means the hell with all those restricting, constricting, paralyzing negatives what swell up from inside and are hurled from outside. It means grabbing tightly on to belief, hope, faith, and love. It means never letting any of them go and letting them go to and control your head and heart.

"Be not weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not."

Joel said he's coming back to VSU this Fall. I invited him to break a doughnut with me.

         Make it a good day.


         Louis Schmier      
         Department of History
         Valdosta State University
         Valdosta, GA  31698                 /~\        /\ /\
         912-333-5947              /^\      /     \    /  /~\  \   /~\__/\
                                 /     \__/         \/  /  /\ /~\/         \
                          /\/\-/ /^\_____\____________/__/_______/^\
                        -_~    /  "If you want to climb mountains,   \ /^\
                         _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -    \____

Return to The Complete Random Thoughts of Louis Schmier
Return to the Random Thoughts of Louis Schmier