Next weekend, there will be a WCS reunion at the school, combining several classes. A great deal of planning has gone into the event but as I am preaching the wedding of another WCS alum in Ft. Worth that same weekend, my time will be limited. The following, from September 3, 2007, is about seeing some former students unexpectedly.
We're only three weeks into school but the Labor Day break was welcome. Like many professions, you can't define teaching simply by the hours when you are technically at work. Something is always running through your head or more likely, your heart. It's funny how an insignificant event months ago can lead to an impacting event today. Last Spring, Matt Connell gave me a Marble Slab Gift Card, redeemable for one free waffle cone, before he graduated. I decided to cash it in this afternoon with a raspberry-and-sweet cream dessert. Since I was in the vicinity of Starbucks, I washed the ice cream down with a Tall Hot Brewed Coffee. I needed it- I had been soaked by the daily Houston monsoon.
Since I had some extra money from a recent speaking engagement as well as jury duty, I decided I might as well look for a white shirt at several stores in the Meyerland Plaza. No luck at J.C. Penney, Ross, or Palais Royal. My last hope was Marshall's where I actually found a 15 1/2, 34-35 white oxford John Ashford, regularly $34, on sale for only $9.99! While I was browsing, I heard my name. It was Fidencio, one of my former Westbury Christian students, who was also taking advantage of the holiday sales. As I returned to my car, I heard my name once more. This time it was Davis, another former student, accompanied by his very lovely girlfriend. In two minutes in a city of 4 million plus people, I ran into two young men who sat in my Bible classes. You would go broke gambling with those odds.Teachers thrive on bumping into old students. I am no different.
These two are no ordinary alumni. Fidencio Gutierrez is the most generous student I have ever taught. He constantly walked up to me in the hallway, discreetly handing me a $5 "for the Honduras kids." Five years after his graduation, he still brings me bottles of change he has collected for our orphanage work in Central America. In eighth grade, Davis Somoye told me he would change his name to Steve if I would just mention his name in the book I was about to publish. I called his bluff and for a solid semester, referred to him in class as Steve Somoye. Those are good memories of two kids who have outgrown the kid tag but are just beginning their walk in the world. Fidencio is about to complete his nursing degree. When he obtains that RN license, he will be in great demand for his skill, integrity, work ethic, and fluency in both Spanish and English. Davis is on a five year program to obtain a Masters degree in accounting. With his intellect and personality, I can see my almost-namesake heading a Fortune 500 company within a decade. Our recent dilemma with our folks has renewed my respect for those who take care of the health of the elderly and their finances. I would feel blessed to have Fidencio and Davis watching over the physical and fiscal well-being of my parents.
In 2 Chronicles 15:7, the prophet Azariah spoke these words of promise to King Asa:
"But as for you, be strong and do not give up for your work will be rewarded."
I doubt it was Labor Day when that prophecy was being revealed but I can't help but feel it applied to me today. We don't exchange gifts on this holiday but that's all right. Like Asa, I know there is a reward for my, and every teacher's, work. We call them grown ups.
Applicable quote of the day:
"Socrates had a student named Plato, Plato had a student named Aristotle, and Aristotle had a student named Alexander the Great."
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org