Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Twice In One Week!

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.


Adrienne said...

Isn't it wonderful that you were told of the impact you've had on their lives? I think we should tell the people who make a difference what they mean to us - while they are alive! Too often we wait until they are gone and then we share it with others. And I don't think we really, truly understand how many people's lives we touch. We probably won't know until we're in Heaven someday!

Angie said...

Marlene, that was a wondrful post. I think I'll send an email to my aunt. I taught myself to cook but it was she who inspired me to want to.

What a shame your house was so badly treated. I suppose that's always a problem when you rent out. I think in this country we would call it a "Listed Building". Depending on which grade of listing it is you have to have specil approval to make any alterations to it whatsoever. You're allowed to keep it clean though!
love, Angie, xx

Christine said...

You made tears well up in my eyes. It doesn't take much to make a difference. If only the whole world would try just for a day. Imagine the change that could happen.

Lena . . . said...

What a wonderful post. And yes, I did have a teacher that made a huge difference in my life. She was my grade school teacher from grade 3 through 6. I kept in touch with her regularly throughout all the years. Unfortunately she passed away about 5 years ago, but I did make sure that she knew how important she was to me as often as I could.

Living on the Spit said...

I so needed to hear these words written on this post...thank you so much for sharing this with made my day!

Salem Stitcher said...

Wow. Wow. What a wonderful post.

Lindah said...

A powerful message, Marlene. The ripple effects of what we do --or don't do-- a far greater than we imagine. Likely, most of the time we do things because they need to be done or because we are expected to do them, but doing them to bless God gives new meaning and lilt to dailiness.
Thanks, Marlene!
Oh, by the way, that old house in photo... I'll take it if it's for sale.

Rose Mary said...

What an inspiring post, Marlene. You are so right that we never know how, even some little thing, we say or do might affect someone's life. Sounds like you and your husband have been a wonderful influence in several people's lives.

I'm sorry your rent house was trashed, but glad you have the young man that cleans as well as mows! I'm amazed at the lack of respect some people have for other's property.

I love the story about the quilter! His grandma would be proud.

Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife said...

What a wonderful encouragement! I'm so glad you got to experience truly is a great feeling to know we've made a difference in someone's life..

Marie said...

Marlene, how wonderful to know that you have been able to influence someone in a profound and positive way. I often wonder if I have been able to make a difference in anyone's life. If I have, I hope it's for the better! xxoo

Teresa said...

It is so nice to have someone from the past relay to you the impact you had on their life, and I think this experience you had just helps to give your life meaning. You know, its odd, but I can not remember a single teacher that really impacted me. I was so shy and awkward, and school was not a good experience for me. I know I had good teachers, as I have an good education. My son-in-law and daughter are both teachers now though, and I hope they are able to have that impact on their students lives just like you and your husband did on the students you worked with.

Elaine Adair said...

OH my - how wonderful to be reminded by the young people that indeed, your life's calling had positive impact on them. You KNOW it did but for them to acknowledge it, is an amazing gift.

I'm going to write my note to a lady, Mrs. Q, who had a lovely impact on MY life. 8-)))

Sunna Reyr said...

I think that shows you were good at your jobs and cared and that makes all the difference. In so many lives.

Funny thing, I was looking through photos earlier today and saw an old one I once took of few of my fellow students and our favorite crafts teacher. I sent her good thoughts, that will have to do for now. ( It always warms my heart when I happen to see that photo)

Grandma Nina said...

I love this story. I'm sure you made a difference in so many more lives that just haven't run into you or emailed you to let you know.
I am a quilter and know of Ricky Timms, so what a great story that is also.
Sometimes the things we do seem so routine or useless or meaningless or boring to us, but if we always try to be good and do good, you just never know how it may affect someone else in such a positive way.

Molly said...

That kind of thing could make you walk on air for a whole month!