Copyright © Louis Schmier

Date: Thu 11/9/2006 4:05 AM
Random Thought: An Educational Afterlife

Not my morning to hit the streets. I woke up this morning about 4:30 am, walked into the guest room that doubles as the computer room, turned on the computer, walked into the kitchen, made a freshly brewed pot of coffee, waited interminably for the watched pot to drip enough to fill my cup, returned on the computer, sat down to do the Washington Post crossword puzzle, and read a bunch of student journal entries. Then, I went to my e-mail. I opened the first message. It had an innocuous subject heading of "Made It! Thanks!!" At first I thought it might be a bit of distasteful spam that had gotten past my filter, but there proved to be nothing unpleasant about it. As I read this message from a student who had been in class some years ago, I held the coffee cup to my lips, my breathing slowed down and deepened, my heart beat faster, my eyes filled, my muscles tightened. The letter ended with "Rumi must have known you: 'Borrow the Beloved's eyes. Look through them and you'll see the Beloved's face everywhere. No tiredness, no jaded boredom...things you have hated will become helpers.' That's you. Thanks. Your gaze met my eyes and in my heart I now hold your love, faith, and belief in me. Thanks for helping me get rid of my subconscious gossip about myself and acquire a pair of beloved eyes to look at myself and obliterate the barrier between me and myself. "

I read those last lines over and over and over. Such poetry. I finally leaned my head back on the chair, stared at the ceiling, and sighed a deep "wow!" Then, I got up, turned off all the lights, and went on a slow, quiet meditative walk through the dark house.

Honestly? She is right. I've racked my brain and I still just don't remember who she is. It doesn't matter. Really. I'll just say this one thing: teaching, like everything else someone does, is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual process. Have the "beloved's eyes!" Gaze! Pay attention! Be aware! Open your heart! Understand that the most humbling realization and the heaviest responsibility and most uplifting magnificence and deepest gratefulness about teaching are knowing that we have an afterlife in each student.

         Make it a good day.


         Louis Schmier      
         Department of History
         Valdosta State University
         Valdosta, GA  31698                 /~\        /\ /\
         912-333-5947              /^\      /     \    /  /~\  \   /~\__/\
                                 /     \__/         \/  /  /\ /~\/         \
                          /\/\-/ /^\_____\____________/__/_______/^\
                        -_~    /  "If you want to climb mountains,   \ /^\
                         _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -    \____

Return to The Complete Random Thoughts of Louis Schmier
Return to the Random Thoughts of Louis Schmier