My college semester is technically over, yet piles of papers and tattered shards of reminder notes cover my desk. At least I think there is a desk underneath the shrapnel known as coursework. I found a reason to reflect on what the disorganization means to me–
My dear friend Kathleen came over for lunch today and I have to smile at the path our relationship has carved into my life. Kathleen was my undergrad English teacher. When I started back to college five years ago, I was more fearful than excited. I kept creating stories in my mind of how horribly out of place I would be, and how little I knew about computers.
While some of that was true, none of it lived up to the scale in my imagination.
Kathleen saw something in me I didn’t. She told me my writing was good and to keep at it. Through her encouragement I entered a few college writing contests and developed a taste for allowing my voice to be heard. More importantly, her belief in me whittled away at personal demons and doubts. After my two year stint at the community college ended I transferred to a four year college. It was at that time our teacher-student roles turned into a friendship. Kathleen and I have much in common and are only a few years apart in age.
I still learn from her of course, but it is different. We do talk about books and writing. But she also generously shares her skills at gardening, and often brings me plants from her home. Many have ties to her grandmother or mother’s gardens and it means a lot to me. It is connection that is hard to explain.
I hope in some small measure I teach her too. For instance, I hope I’ve taught her–by way of my gratitude– how much she has changed my life. She is a gentle teacher, a woman without ego, but she has certainly rocked my world. Now if she could only teach me how to clean my desk.