About four years ago I had an epiphany; I realized that if I died that day my life would not have mattered. I don't mean to say that no one would miss me, or to assume that I hadn't made a few ripples in the world around me. Yet, something in me yearned for more substance. I realized I wanted to make a mark. To take a stand. To do something different. I wanted to leave something behind that would change the way the world thinks. (Or at least my corner of it).
Growing up middle class, sheltered and afraid of things that were different, I had always played it safe. That meant doing the right thing, being responsible, and taking care of my own. But I never took opportunities to stretch beyond my limited comfort zone. I never allowed myself to grow into the person I was meant to be.
My answer since that day has been to look within to understand myself. To uncover, and discover what makes me unique. In the process I've learned so much, and it has in turn helped me to be able to really "see" other people. It's almost freaky at times. I am beginning to understand my natural talents, my strengths, the way my mind works (and most importantly of all) discovered that it operates differently from everyone else's. Such a simple, yet powerful thought for me to grasp. You would have thought I got that long ago, but somehow it never really sunk in.
As I travel from school to school, and class to class these days --substitute teaching, I am just beginning to understand the flaws inherent in our public school system. I am seeing that in our effort to leave no child behind, we are instead leaving nearly all children behind ---or, at the very least missing the boat on how we could help them truly flourish.
Our system is based on learning in a world that no longer exists. It is antiquated, outdated, and it is not working. (There are always exceptions and clearly I have seen some things working). I do not the fault teachers, in fact, I have gained huge respect for what they have to do on a daily basis. But I want to make it better. I see a way that it can work, and I am going to fix it. My plan is working itself out---it becomes clearer every day.
I will be able to make the mark on my corner of the world --- I've got a vision. I've been tagged. Stay tuned and soon I will share more of my plan with you....
So the Question of the Week # 17 / What would you want people to say about you during your eulogy? What would you like your tombstone to say about your life?
While this activity may seem morbid, it is a thought-provoking way to consider the kind of impact and purpose you want to have in your life. That being said, it is also really hard, but here is what I would want said.
Terri lived her life authentically, honestly and with purpose. By learning to open her heart and share that process with others, she was able to positively impact her corner of the world. Terri mattered.
I'd like to think that the words: Gone, but not forgotten will be true for me. How about you? Does this question make you squirm or do you know how you want to be remembered?