|"WINTER BEACH STROLL", oil, by DEBBIE MILLER
Somewhere, years ago, I heard a person described as having “largeness of heart, like the sand on the seashore”, a description that returns to me off-and-on when I’m teaching. Like any teacher, I need a heart large enough to find room for all the wonderful and foolish events that unfold during any class. A small heart in a teacher means doors are closed to all but the expressly described “goals and objectives” of the lesson, a situation that can sometimes result in devastating tediousness and even disgust, whereas a teacher’s heart that’s as vast as “the sand on the seashore” can happily hold whatever happens, and thus, perhaps, produce a feeling of lighthearted interest among the students. When I’m teaching, I’m often fortunate enough to see, in my mind, an immeasurable seashore (me) with waves of countless varieties (the thoughts, feelings, and events that occur during class) washing up on the sand. If the shore (the teacher’s inner spirit) has neither end nor beginning nor boundaries of any kind, it can conveniently welcome whatever the sea (a class) sends it. This is largeness of heart, the kind of heart I only rarely feel spreading out inside me, but the kind that’s always there, nonetheless, just waiting for me to welcome it into my work.