Smile because it happened."
Today I went to a memorial service for another friend who died too young. The chapel was filled with family, friends and colleagues who had memories to share of a woman whose intelligence, strength and warmth allowed her to make a difference in the lives of thousands of people.
For better or worse, teachers touch scores of children each year, and with Phyllis that touch was for better. I first met her when she was Michael's teacher in his elementary gifted studies class, and I saw her work first hand. I watched as she captured the interest of her students and related to each of them on an individual basis. Years later, when I began teaching my high school students (gifted and...not so gifted) I borrowed her ideas and became a better teacher because of them.
Phyllis continued to spread her ideas, and today I will take one last lesson from her. I will appreciate people and events as they happen, and find things to laugh about each day. It is so easy for us to put off something for a more convenient time or make that phone call next week instead of today. My friends are always on my mind, but my phone phobia tends to make postponing that phone call too tempting. I convince myself that they will understand, and they are probably too busy to speak to me anyway, so I text a few words, or worse, I do nothing and wait until I "have time."
Unfortunately, life happens, and we don't always get a second chance to appreciate a beautiful flower, a sunny day, a child's laughter or the time spent with a friend or relative. I have done a good job of taking the time to appreciate things over these last few years. Arthur and I often walk around our neighborhood and check out the beautiful landscape. I look out of my window each day and watch the lizards as they bask in the sun or do calisthenics on our screens. I have tasted foods I never tried before, and some have been added to my permanent pantry.
Yes, I have done a good job, but not a great job. I have not gotten over my discomfort of picking up the telephone and initiating that phone call...but I will. Phyllis's last lesson to me is the realization that life is fleeting and quite often not fair. I put off that phone call to her, and that opportunity will never present itself again. I will take my many other opportunities however, and I will re-connect with those friendships I have let slip away. I will nurture those relationships that are important to me now, and I will always remember the futility of waiting for a better time, because right NOW will always be best of times.
Diane Chamberlain was an author I let slip away, and I thought her book, The Silent Sister, was a good way to re-connect with her. Although this was not my favorite of her books, it tempted me to browse through past books that she has written. Looking through those books reminded me why I always looked forward to her latest novels. She is definitely an author for those who enjoy a good story a la Jodi Picoult.
As always a complete review of this book will follow this blog.