Wednesday, February 23, 2005

It has been a long week so far. There is so much to say yet I have no idea how to say it without getting lost in the words and becoming completely tangential and emotional.

My friend's father recently passed away and she has been in my thoughts daily. I haven't the strength to see her but I will make that journey soon. Last night I found out that one of my old students, actually one of my first students when I began teaching up here, died in Iraq on Monday. There are so many emotions going through my head and I won't be disrespectful by talking about him in this public space but I will say that his light and love touched everyone. This tiny tiny boy, who loved crazy death metal and such and horror movies, had so much light in him that gang kids, hip hoppers, country music boys, school administrators, they all had respect for him and always acknowledged him verbally. If you can see that, if that can help you understand what kind of boy he was then you will understand what kind of man he became. I taught him for almost three years and kept up with him after he left my classroom and I have to say he taught me just as much as I tried to teach him. When I think of him I think of fathers and sons and their relationships and my own father. We had many talks about that. I think he opened up his father's heart in a way that no one else could. I cried yesterday and went home and held my own son. Whatever your thoughts on the war are I hope you will understand that it's boys and girls and young men and young women out there and whether the war is right or wrong they are doing their jobs we love them for it. I say this not in the I'm proud to be an American way but rather in the human way.

I love teaching. I really do. I had to leave it for awhile but when I was there I did good and I did touch a few lives. It's a hard thing. I used to tell my friend Lisa that it's like being in a cave. A student comes in and they are scared and angry and stubborn and eager and they give a shit and they don't. You don't take them by the hand but you ask them which way they want to go and then you grab a torch and you light their way. Every now and then you give them some advice, watch out for that hole or this part of the journey is rough, you'll need better shoes or close your eyes and listen, you'll figure out where you want to go. You walk with them, lighting the path and eventually you come to a place where you have to say goodbye to them and they get scared and look at you and say they can't do it, how are they going to see?? Where are they going to get light? And you look at them and show them their own torch and tell them you lit it for them a long time ago and they have been lighting their own path for quite awhile. Good luck. You know where I am if you want to come back and visit but it's your time to go see what's out there.

All my love John,


Blogger Lazlo said...

It is a wonder, the experience, to be suddenly acutely aware of your own mortality. Further still is the awareness of everyone else's mortality that usually follows hard upon.

I don't know what I mean to say by this, other than the storm must be weathered, will be weathered, and though I know not of whom in particular you speak, my thoughts are with you.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005 10:28:00 AM  

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