The sun shines brightly today, an anomaly after a long and brutal winter. Driving east into the morning, I cranked my radio and listened to a choral piece, “Omnia Sol.” The refrain translates loosely to The sun warms us, even when it is far away. Suddenly, tears began trickling, then pouring down my cheeks; the music lifted memories, and though I am but one voice in the great chorale of life, I sang along.
This introspective mood perhaps arose from pondering our troubled times, with a video in which a young Ukranian woman cries for freedom from tyranny. Perhaps, it began with another clip of a young man in Cairo, his hands held high in surrender, gunned down. Perhaps the approaching second anniversary of our local school shooting has triggered my pensive state.
However, my life is suffused with joy. For example, My husband, Wayne, pointed out some pussy willow shoots to me; my grandmother and I used to track through the February slush, searching for pussy willows and crocuses as the first sign of spring. Yesterday, a group of students, my costume crew for our musical, and I stayed late after school, fashioning beautiful crowns out of recycled milk jugs, and when we were done, they forgot their adolescent dignity and paraded around in the glittering, gold confections, speaking with “royal” accents, (Sherlock Holmes meets suburban Ohio). This week, a unique, individual, strong minded seventh grader of mine won the county spelling bee, and another unique, individual, strong minded former student of mine covered the story for the local paper.
We live in a world of small beauties, tiny miracles which poke through the pall of tragedy and turmoil like the crocuses pushing their way through the snow to the sun.
To recognize these moments, to share them with others-for this reason I teach. See, to teach requires you to sacrifice your heart. You need to invest not only your time and talent, but also your love. First, love your students. Then, everything else becomes possible. You will walk together for a year, or three, or ten, but then, as is the natural order, children grow and leave to live their lives. And, your heart breaks.
But today, as I sang “Omnia Sol, “ I remembered so many moments, and realized how grateful I am to have been part of my students’ lives and to have shared joy with them--a thousand little wonders-and spring approaches.