Somewhere in his book in the Bible, Job says that the words of his wise friends are no more significant than “proverbs of ashes”, and it has me thinking, this morning, about the millions of words I spoke to my students, and how, now, they’re something like dust in the limitless universe of learning. I so often saw myself as a sensible and shrewd instructor as I spoke to my students, but now, days and years later, my words to them seem like specks of small thoughts in a sky that goes on forever. The smart sentences I spoke in class and the lessons I set forth with self-assurance and satisfaction are now simply particles of sand on the endless seashore of my students’ education. Strangely, this is not a sad thought for me, but somehow an inspiring one, for it reminds me of the immensity and majesty of the teaching-and-learning process that I was lucky to be part of for 45 years. I was just one of the countless teachers my students had, including their families and friends and the books they read and the people they spoke to in passing and the sights they saw and all the words they listened to in their young but limitless lives. Their teachers were as numerous as the stars in the sky, and my spoken words just happened to be among them, just happened to float through their rising lives for a few months and then drift off like dust in the vast winds of learning. I feel blessed to have been even a small part of such a grand and impressive process.
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