Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Why It Matters That I Mattered To Emily

As you can tell if you are a regular reader, I am back from my 29 day adventure to Vietnam. For the seventh summer, I was blessed to spend July in Can Tho where I have found a group who has become my second family. Actually, I got back a week ago but I had so many volunteers for guest bloggers that I'm just now running out of their material! It was a wonderful trip as always and as always is my new favorite adventure! Only eleven months until I return!

One thing I always hope happens is that I get to go to a wedding in Vietnam. It happened in three of the six previous trips so I guess 2017 was odd year out. But, I still had a wedding memory! During my overnight layover in Singapore, the above picture came across my feed. It was a 2011 memory on the timeline of Emily, one of my former high school basketball players. The caption was:

Saw that Coach Hawley came and got SO excited
I had never seen the picture before and had no idea it was being taken. (If you aren't sure, I'm the guy in the white shirt with my hands behind my back as Emily and her brand new husband take their first trip together.) It was a special wedding for me. As I recall, all the bridesmaids were players of mine and I had preached the wedding of one, Becca, to Emily's brother, Brian. It had been years since I had coached them but once a coach, always a coach! That Facebook post precipitated some back and forth messages between Emily and me. We caught up and she was so gracious in her memories of our time together. She only played for me one year as a freshman as well as spending two years in my classes. She didn't play all that much that one year but we were very very good and she was just entering high school. Emily also began experiencing some health issues that made playing at times a struggle. But she was a tough kid and now, she is a tough woman. But tough still looks gorgeous in a wedding dress! And the look on her face was as big a thank-you as any coach could dream of.

We are three days into inservice at WCS. Our administration makes it as absolutely painless as possible, very teacher friendly, but, and I say this with the utmost respect, part of it is a necessary evil if you've taught for very long. This afternoon, we had a Bible meeting; me, Steven, and Veronica. All of us are teaching Bible and commissioned to instruct our children in the Word of God. The question arose about how we can measure the impact we are having. I suggested that we can't for perhaps decades. I teach the story of Jesus but I'm not sure whose heart is touched, whose soul is stirred. In that light, I told Steven and Veronica about the picture of Emily. It mattered to me because I matter to Emily. We all have people who we want to love us, to respect us, to look up to us, to grieve with us, to rejoice with us, to be there for us. (I love Veronica in that light- she's one of my favorite former students!) It's funny how the people most influential in my life were all teachers and coaches. But it's also funny how I didn't always see it at the time. I came to covet the approval of teachers I didn't like and who I was sure didn't like me. The Scriptures speak of planting and watering, growing and harvesting. Each step is a season and they are predictable in their order but not necessarily in their fruition. A new educational season is about to begin; it's just a week away for us. I pray for lots of Emilys this year and her male counterparts as well. Mostly, I pray for me. I can live a decade on one smile from a bride. That's a pretty good way to live.

Applicable quote of the day:

“What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life — to strength each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?"
George Eliot

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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