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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st

I have spent much of the day fighting back tears. In all fairness, this is not that unusual for me. I often joke that my favorite work pastime is weeping openly in my cubicle - not because I have cause to be deeply sad, but because I am so easily moved to tears by music and campaign ads and good writing.

But my high school community lost a beloved, veteran teacher today. He taught us the first sixteen lines of Canterbury Tales and the immeasurable impacts that come when a teacher cares about you not just as a writer and reader but as a person. In the email that went around to the alumnae listserv, the headmistress extolled his commitment to his students - not just in the classroom but at our sports games, extracurricular activities, and summer camps. His life was truly dedicated to serving others - and if his generous laugh was any indication, it was a calling he deeply enjoyed. I spent the day alternately reading Facebook tributes to him and the Shakespeare sonnets they referenced.

Then this afternoon, my organization held its annual service awards ceremony, recognizing staff anniversaries, including a good handful of people who have worked here for 20 years. Our president spoke to their job expertise - whether in Asian politics or office management - and to their dedication to our mission. I always drag my heels about having to go to these sorts of things but then really enjoy them once I'm there. I love the opportunity to see the bigger picture and to get reinspired for my day-to-day work - and yep, I got found myself getting teary at some points.

It made me think about commitment and dedication and the rewards you reap when you invest deeply, over an extended period of time, in a certain place and its people. It made me think about building community and about organizations as communities. And it made me resolve to pursue a career and to live a life as committed and community-supporting as the ones we celebrated today.

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