I’ve spent the last week digging in my garden and reading my favorite high school English teacher’s old journals and poetry. Linda Hawkins died from the effects of a bone marrow transplant two years after my class graduated. She left behind a legacy that couldn’t possibly be measured by human minds. Her students still talk about her hilarious personality (standing on her desk and squawking like a bird to bring a class to order) and her ability to inspire creativity in the young.
I would not be an author today had it not been for Linda Hawkins. She taught me to put my heart on the line when writing, but more importantly she taught me to trust my instincts. In the last week, I’ve learned even more from Mrs. Hawkins. As a resu1t, I’ve decided we spend the first 40 years of our lives discovering who we are and the time remaining either
a) bemoaning what we’ve done with our lives and letting it hold us hostage like rats on a wheel,
b) OR mustering the courage to be the magnificent individuals we were born to be.
Linda Hawkins was 44 when she died. I think her greatest regret was that she knew who she was, but had so little time to enjoy that blissful path. She was a teacher, a shaper of young minds, and a builder of destinies. She loved teaching, but she battled an illness that deprived her of it. If death is considered losing, then I suppose we’re all losers in the end; but if living with grace and faith have anything to do with succeeding, then she was one of the most successful people I’ve ever known.
As I’ve read through her journals (one of which covered her 2-year battle), I’ve learned some important lessons:
- Have the courage to be your best self and let God take care of the impact that is made as a result.
- Look for the beauty and the good around you each and every day. Be thankful for it. Embrace it.
- Keep a journal. It will help you deal with life, and it’ll leave a priceless legacy for your posterity.
- Finally, in Linda Hawkins’ own words: “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.”
So there’s my challenge to you and to me . . . let’s get off our rat wheels and be who we were born to be! Time is of the essence.
© Copyright 2009 Marnie L Pehrson