I credit my grade four teacher Mr. Stuart with making me want to be a writer. Back then, I always had my nose in a book (some things never change, no matter how old you get), but it wasn’t until Mr. Stuart lent me one of his daughter’s RL Stine books that I began to think I might like to write a book like that one day.
Mr. Stuart died four years ago, too young at 56. Too soon for me to tell him what an impact he had had on my life.
Only one other teacher has had that kind of impact on me – my high-school English teacher Mrs. Footz – and, when I learned that Mr. Stuart had died, I was determined that I wouldn’t let any more time pass before letting her know the role she played in shaping my life.
That was four years ago, and like too many other things, I put it off for another day, secure in my belief that there would always be another day.
Intellectually, we know we’re not immortal. We know the people in our lives won’t be there forever. Whether death takes them or circumstance, our time together is precious – but we rarely treat it as such.
Too often, we bury our noses in our smart phones rather than basking in our family’s too short presence in our lives. Too often, we whinge and moan about our co-workers or our friends or our teachers, forgetting that – even when they challenge us – they are not a permanent part of our lives. Too often, we forget to thank the people who have helped us grow, helped us change, helped us become who we are.
It’s human nature, I think. We fear to acknowledge that our time on this planet, with these people, could end at any time, so we wait for another day. We rail against the fact of our own deaths.
Perhaps we can’t live in a state of constant appreciation for the people around us, but it takes so little to be mindful of their roles in our lives and to express our thanks every opportunity we can.
So today, I will thank the beautiful yoga teachers at my studio for sharing my practice. I will thank my husband for sitting down to a meal with me. I will thank my family for their unconditional love and support.
And today, I will write Mrs. Footz a letter. I won’t wait for another day. Another day might be too late.