Yesterday my husband and I drove to a small town in sort-of-southern Arkansas where we own a house that we rent out. Now we lived in that house for 13 years and it was probably one of my two favorite houses that we've ever lived in, and we've lived in more than a few. It's an old house, on The Historical Register whatever that means, and was built before 1930 as were all the houses on a three block span on our street. (No that's not it in the picture but I thought you all might like the picture that I sort of "borrowed" off the Internet) It was rented to the same people for five or six years but they moved out last December. For a variety of reasons we hadn't been down to check on it and it remains empty. It made me almost physically ill to see how it had deteriorated and how dirty they left it. I didn't want to touch anything for fear of contamination! We called a former student of ours who has been mowing the yard for us to see if he was also in the cleaning business...and it turns out he is, thank goodness. To make a long story short we were visiting with this young man when all of a sudden he told us he wanted to thank us for our parts in his life. What? I was his high school counselor and my husband was his high school principal and he went on to tell us he remembered our help in keeping him out of trouble (my husband) and getting his diploma (me). He was a special needs student and one of the sweetest kids I ever met but sometimes made some poor decisions. We just did what we always did for kids, but how incredibly blessed we felt yesterday when he told us he remembered. Since I've been retired for 6 years now I sure don't hear many of those validations.
Lo and behold when I opened up my e-mail this morning I had a message from another former student - out of the blue. He was up early to take the Colorado Bar Exam today and wanted to thank me for my part in helping him get there. He spoke of the value of time and remembered the time I'd spent talking to him and helping him to stay focused on his goals and the time I'd spent traveling to the airport to see him off as he left for The Air Force Academy. I'm amazed that he remembers that but it proves once again that we never know when we're impacting a life.
Ricky Timms, a gifted quilter and musician, talks of two gifts given to him that impacted his life in a profound way. His grandmother remarried late in life and gave him her old sewing machine when she moved. That gift led to a very lucrative and fulfilling career that has taken him to multiple countries to teach classes, inspired several books, and won him numerous awards. But he also comments that one day many, many years ago a sewing machine salesman got up one ordinary morning and went about his normal work day never dreaming that he would that day sell a sewing machine to a woman, who would leave it to her grandson, who would use it to impact people all over the world. That salesman was just doing the task assigned him that day but God used that task to make a difference in someone's life.
I hope that we all remember that as we go about our ordinary tasks today. What we do, no matter how small, can be used (and might be used!) to make someone's life better. We may never know it. We may never even dream it. But God can use it...and us....for a mighty purpose.
And I also hope that today you might remember a teacher/counselor/principal who impacted your life. If there's any way to do so make a phone call or send an e-mail and say thanks. It's a little thing that would make an ordinary day become an extraordinary day for that teacher.