Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Teacher, My Friend

Last night, I met a good friend for coffee.  We haven't had a chance to sit down and really talk in YEARS!  We see each other here and there, talk for a couple of minutes, catch up a bit on Facebook, etc., but any plans we've attempted to try to get together had been unsuccessful.  Such is the way it often goes with moms.

I love friendships that continue and never change no matter if it's years between coffee-dates, etc.  I love when you can sit down and pick up right where you've left off.  That's how it was for Karen and I.  Catching up, laughing, encouraging...it was great.

My friendship with Karen goes back almost twenty years.  She was my high-school computer teacher during my 12th-grade year. (This was computer class circa 1990/91 - the age of DOS, floppy discs, and large, square, blinking cursors)  Though she was my teacher, she's less than a decade older, she was married just three years, and she was a kid at heart.  She was so easy to befriend.  Karen wasn't afraid of teenagers.  She smiled and talked with us.  She wanted to know what was going on - kept up with all the "news".  While many adults found the lives of teens unimportant or annoying, Karen loved to hear about our daily lives and struggles as well as the details of our "courtships." I remember standing around talking with her between classes and after school.  I remember how tired she was after her first few weeks of teaching.  Being born hearing impaired, Karen often used sign language, but also knew how to lip read very well.  However, in the first weeks of school she had done more lip-reading than she had done in quite some time and, piling that on top of learning the ways of the school and getting to know many different students results in exhaustion.  I think I really began admiring and respecting her when she told me how tired she was, but she kept on smiling and saying how much she loved it!

I remember Eric and I (while we were dating) going out for ice cream (or was it Wendy's?) with Karen and her husband.  I can still see her laying her head on his shoulder and him giving his infamous grin.  They were the couple I wanted to be someday.  They were being an example - a good example - without even trying.

During my senior year and a few years afterwards, there was a door-to-door witnessing ministry on Saturdays.  It must have been Karen who asked me to join in this ministry as that was not something I would normally do on my own.  She and I were partners and I still have a trinket box she gave me with the name of the ministry engraved on the top.  We had a blast on those Saturday mornings knocking on doors and talking with people.  She smiled at everyone, greeted them with her boundless energy, and taught me a great deal about sharing the love and joy of Christ.  I'll never forget running under lawn sprinklers one sunny Saturday morning.  Who ever said ministry was dull and mundane never went door-to-door with Karen!

Our relationship began as teacher/student.  Last night, we sat at the table and talked about the joys and challenges of motherhood, homeschooling, exercise, and life.  I don't remember any of what Karen taught me in that computer class (maybe because all of it is non-existent today), but her example has formed a part of who I am today. I find that quite a few of my friends are young people with whom I befriended when they were in those awkward years between childhood and adult.    I still rest my head on my hubby's shoulder from time to time and remember my teacher & her man as newlyweds.  Though it is not often I go door-to-door, I always try to remember to pass out a tract with a smile in order to convey the joy of Christianity - just as Karen taught me years ago.  Without knowing it, I have tried to emulate her spirit in many ways in my life - and I am so grateful to her.

She was my teacher for a short time.  Karen is my friend for life.  Thank you, my friend!

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