Farewells a Month Early

I received an email about a month ago.

A farewell message from a student, the young man who literally bounced through my classroom on a yellow-uddered-yoga-ball.  He wrote me this lovely message about how farewells are meaningful, especially when in the face of constructing friendships, especially when analyzing how we need to show love and compassion as opposed to hatred or cruelty.

I nearly wept as I read the words.  I had been feeling worn, a bit discouraged.  I just wanted to find a way past the week, past the day, past that moment and his email just lifted my spirits.

This morning, another farewell message arrived, one from the Tiny Dancer (see a post several months or weeks ago).  A long, beautiful message about hope and love.  A long, beautiful message that showed me that I had said the right things and done the right things.

I love the Tiny Dancer, just as much as I love my students.  Okay, I really love her a lot because…well…no because.  I love her because I love her.  She is a lovely person.  She is actually not one of my students which actually eases the relationship.  I am still a teacher. She is still a student.  But, through our conversations, I have come to see her as a very dear daughter.

I adopt students all the time.  They come to me with their stories and their experiences and give them to me for safe keeping and I am honored to be the bearer of their lives, to hold their precious selves for a moment and show them that they still matter despite the scars that are impressed upon their skin.  And the Tiny Dancer is just like that.  She came to me during play rehearsals (I was helping “direct.”) and we would sit next to one another and talk about life, about our pasts.

She found my blog.

She sent me a lovely message.

A picture.  The picture of the Tiny Dancer.

In her farewell message, she gave me so much, so many wonderful realizations that things matter.  That in this walk through life, we really aren’t alone.

I have been so tired recently, discouraged.  A student was rather ugly at a recent event and I didn’t take anything she said personally.  I really didn’t care about her ugliness.  I did care that I was seeing yet another symptom of selfish entitlement.  But seeing her glare at me, point at me while talking to her peers engendered no emotional response from me.

I just didn’t care.

But I felt the experience chip into my fatigue a bit more, wear me down a bit more.

I’m tired.  I’m so very tired.   And this exhaustion has a tendency to make me feel sad or at least see the world through a rather weary perspective.

And receiving the Tiny Dancer’s email this morning stripped away that fatigue.  I sort of shed a couple of tears.  I won’t say that I cried.  But I will admit to wiping away a tear.  Okay, two.  One out of each eye.

They weren’t big tears.

But they were there.

And I thought about the thank you gift I want to give her, something that will show her how much I appreciate her kindness, her honesty, her vulnerability.  Because in her moment of quiet truthfulness, I could see that I don’t live in this existential vacuum.  I live in a world populated with so many other people who are rather similar to me.

I don’t have a life filled with tragedy.  My childhood was easy.  But feeling like the odd one out all the time is draining.   But going through life with a Tiny Dancer….

The journey is always much easier.

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