Coming and going

I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he or she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a living is not the same thing as making a life. I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.
Maya Angelou

DSCN5900
(a threesome of gulls, Henderson State Park, Destin, Florida / Julie Cook / 2014)

I don’t know whether it’s like this in other professions nor do I know if others feel as deeply about such issues as say as educators do. . .

One of the most difficult things I discovered early on in my teaching career was how difficult the transition of moves, transfers and retirements of colleagues could all be on one’s heart. Add to that the teaching of high school kids. Those young wards one would receive into one’s class as 9th graders–those awkward young folks perched somewhere between childhood and adulthood. The mission was to teach and nurture these ever-changing individuals for 4 years–watching them grow, learn and then, as life would have it, they would graduate, moving to the next stage of life—most of which would take a huge emotional toll on their teachers as one would have grown quite accustomed to their presence..

Coming and Going.

In teaching, especially working in a specific school, the staff and personnel become much like an extended family—just as such held true in my own community and in the school system in which I spent the majority of my life.
My colleagues becoming my extended family.

We shared the teaching, instructing and guiding of other’s children. We shared the joys, the sorrows, the nurturing of our own children, the comings and goings of spouses, the trials and obstacles of life, crises in health, births of children, losses of parents. . . just like any big family who would live life together day in and day out.

Yet oddly such transitions of life, those of the moves, the graduations and the retirements, no longer seemed to carry the same sense of permeant loss—as we now find ourselves living in an age of vast technology. It seems as if we now have 24/7 access to one another–much more so than ever before. We now have e-mail which can be delivered, read and responded to almost immediately. We can text at any given time, day or night, and we have grown to expect an instantaneous response— growing rather anxious if such does not occur within a reasonable amount of time, say 2 minutes. We have Twitter which allows others to peer into our psyche at any given moment, we have FaceBook which shares the glimpses of our daily lives with the entire world. We are morphing into the transparent while being constantly connected.

And so as it is time, once again, to say good-by to yet another colleague, friend and extended family member—hearts are once again filled with that familiar sense of angst.
No longer will there be the physical and tangible interactions. Different individuals will now fill the roles we all once filled. Life experiences will no longer overlap–as being from the same community will no longer exist. Teams cheered on to victory will no longer be the same. Life’s daily living will now be different.

Yet communication will remain instant and quick. A quick text of “hi, how’s it going?” A quick e-mail or Facebook view will immediately catch one another up to speed as to the big and small events taking place in life.
The distance seemingly not so vast.
A comfort of heart. . .

And yet the physical touch, a hand on a shoulder, a glimpse of eye contact captured when two similar minds and thoughts collide during a conference, a quick Saturday lunch to play catch up all coupled by that beautiful smile will all be deeply felt and now sorely missed.

Whereas we seem so much more connected than ever before with unlimited and instant access, it is still, and will always be, the physical contact which makes all the difference in the world–the other stuff, the technology and instant this and that merely softens the blow. Technology may unite us quickly but it can never replace the physical face to face interactions of daily life. One may see tears when Skyping, but no hand my reach out to wipe them away.

I will miss you Beth.

You are one of a kind, which makes you a stand out

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
― Dr. Seuss

RSCN5780
(lovely Black Skimmer on the beach, Henderson State Park, Destin, Florida / Julie Cook / 2014)

We are each formed and made as a unique and individual creation.
We are not produced as multiple items, as poured from a single mold, nor cut out cookie cutter style with each one made just like the one before it–nor are we laid out assembly line style, piece by piece like the piece before that.

We are each a unique creation.
Even twins, triplets and those of multiple births may share many of the same characteristics, DNA and molecules yet each is a unique individual as each has a unique personality.

Therefore we are each unique and in turn special.
One of a kind.
Priceless.

Hear that what I say. . .we are each one of a kind and therefore priceless.

Not worthless.
Not less than.
Not useless.
Not to be thrown away.
Not to be written off as a nobody.
One of a kind.
A stand out.
Necessary.
Valuable.
Precious.

The Creator of the Universe has proclaimed that:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you. . .”

Jeremiah 1:5

You–so wonderfully and skillfully known, formed and made.
You who are precious to a loving and masterful Creator.

Feel free to stand boldly tall–to stand out
for you, dear child, are one of a kind.

Priceless.

Where is your happiness?

“Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour, but this hour.”
― Walt Whitman

RSCN5808
(shells of the coquinas mollusk, otherwise known as butterfly shells, Henderson State Park, Destin, Florida / Julie Cook / 2014)

Where pray tell is your happiness?
Is it hiding today?
Lost and not yet found?
Perhaps you have misplaced it, putting it down in some most obvious spot.
Is that it there?
No no silly, up there?
Oh that must be it, down there, buried underneath all that rubbish?

By all means, please stop whatever it is you’re doing and take a quick look around.
What do you see?
Well?
Anything?
Anything which resembles that missing happiness of yours?
Anything at all?
Do you spy anything of the slightest and smallest which may vaguely resemble that happiness?

Vainly searching far and wide or high and low is simply not the solution.
The missing is never really missing you know.
It’s there in plain sight, right under your very nose.
It’s right where it’s been all along, waiting on you all this very long long time
Oh pity, you still don’t see it do you?

Well, you mustn’t give up, you simply mustn’t
You must carry on the search.
Leave no stone unturned.
For it is there, oh I promise it is there
It is there still waiting, just right where you put it, so very long ago,
and waiting it shall be. . . until you can finally stop all of your mad and endless goose chases
Oh it’s all in plain sight, I really do promise, simply waiting. . . waiting on you.

Shifting Sands

Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future, too.
Marcus Aurelius

DSCN5904

DSCN5898
(sand castle being dismantled by the tide / Henderson State Park / Julie Cook / 2014)

Time has always proven the master of any and all Empires. As soon as a people grow complacent, change will come. . .Empires, be they realms, kingdoms, countries, states–or be they personal fame and fortune, will all eventually fade from sight. As they are built on the shifting sands of humanity. If you believe otherwise, you are merely deceiving yourself—only one Kingdom will withstand the test of time—

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Look! He is coming with the clouds;
every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.
So it is to be. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

Rev 1:4-8