Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 06:19:15 -0400 (EDT)
As I glided through the quiet and enveloping darkness, I was thinking about that voice at the other end of the telephone last Friday afternoon. I hadn't heard that voice in a long time. As soon she started talking with a "Hi doc, I guess who this is." I didin't have to. I jumped up from my slouch as if jolted by a shot of electricity. My heart started racing. As we talked, tears came to my eyes. There was a time or two my voice would have cracked had I had to say something at that moment.
I will only say that she had called me to tell me all was getting well. At the end of the conversation, she said, "I want you to know again how such a little thing as that Tootsie Pop you handed me in class and gave me another chance when you said, 'Let's make this Day One,'--and meant it-- was such a big thing to me. Don't ever forget that what you may think is not a big deal, is." And she hung up with a "I'll keep in touch."
I slowly put the receiver down. I could barely move. Everything was so quiet and seemed to move so slowly. I just closed my eyes and took slow, deep breaths. I felt a bright and burning after glow that has yet to wane. It is such a joyous feeling that I almost wish it proves to be an eternal flame.
I know I am being secretive. Sorry about that. Only six people know the story about this particular student. None are on campus. For the present, let's leave it that way. Enough to say, that her final words burned into my spirit with a demand that took away from me the option of being resigned, that eliminated the choice of becoming a cynic, that forbade the appearance of a feeling a hopelessness, that prohibited I lose faith and belief, that did allow me to become burnt out. She demanded that I not focus only on information and method. She demanded, no commanded, I sharply focus as well on that oft ignored dimension of teaching--the human dimension. She has made the choice for me to be an incurable "hopeholic."
Slowly, as I was reliving that conversation as I have been all weekend, desperately fanning the flames of that inner glow, at about the two mile mark of my route, I began to hear a voice from on high emerging from the heights of my inner spirit. As that voice spoke, I began feeling like Charleston Heston turning his face into the rock as divine, flaming fingers etched words in the stone. As I heard my inner voice, I realized I was forming a moral framework, a set of concepts that give me clarity, direction, purpose, satisfaction, fulfillment, and, ultimately, joy. I picked up my pace. I was afraid I would forget what I was hearing. I ran the last mile, slammed open the door hoping against hope I wouldn't stir my sleeping angel (thankfully I didn't wake her), grabbed a cup of coffee, and surrendered control of my fingers at the keyboard:
Make it a good day. --Louis-- Louis Schmier email@example.com Department of History http://www.halcyon.com/arborhts/louis.html Valdosta State University Valdosta, GA 31698 /~\ /\ /\ 912-333-5947 /^\ / \ / /~ \ /~\__/\ / \__/ \/ / /\ /~ \ /\/\-/ /^\___\______\_______/__/_______/^\ -_~ / "If you want to climb mountains, \ /^\ _ _ / don't practice on mole hills" -\____