The Legacy I Leave

“When you learn, teach. At our best we are all teachers.”—Maya Angelou

I saw these words on someone’s Facebook timeline Wednesday morning after hearing that Maya Angelou had passed on and it was quite timely considering the conversation I had with my 3rd graders the day before. You see, there were some gifts delivered to the staff and teachers at my school by a group of “Secret Students.” They had made door hangers with inspiring notes of gratitude for the work we do. It was a beautiful token and while I appreciate the gesture, I struggled with what was written on mine:

“I hope you can be a real teacher someday.”

My first thought was that I must not be considered a “real teacher.” (Can you tell that I am much more concerned with how others see me than how I see myself, how God sees me? Help me Jesus!)

I am a music teacher in public education and see my students twice a week for a total less than 90 minutes a week. While I may have the same students year after year from Kindergarten through 6th grade I won’t spend even half of a year like a classroom teacher does. Maybe that’s what a “real teacher” does.

I won’t deny that these words really bothered me mostly because I’ve work harder this year than ever before. I’ve found myself scaling fences that had been obstacles and hindrances in the past. It’s been an incredible process to walk through and I am pleased with the growth I’ve made this year. But the reality is that I am the only one who can truly acknowledge within myself that I am a “real teacher.”

Every day I come to school to learn and help others learn, just like I ask of my students.

Everyday I show up because its what I’m called, created and anointed to do for this season of my life.

Everyday, every year I make sacrifices for the sake of my students so that they can know how to listen and work well with others.

These are the things that happen when you’re part of music instruction.

So what did I tell my students that day? I told them

“At some point in your life you are a teacher. Not just once, but many times over. Everyday there may be someone looking at how you’re handling life.

Someone is paying attention to the way that you listen, how you respond, your actions, the choices you make. It’s called leaving a legacy, a vision for those who come after you.

I want to leave a legacy that inspires others to go outside of their comfort zone and try on new things, to be willing and courageous in not growing stagnant. I want my legacy to be full of passion, hope and determination that you can move forward even when it’s difficult.

We all leave some type of legacy.

What will yours be? How will you making yours count for something incredible?”

This Pain Inside

Tears roll down my face
From the deep pain I try to hide
All day I’ve held them back
Keeping this raging storm inside

I’ve tried to avoid this moment
In me it strikes a nerve
Its touch is way too painful
Not one that any deserve

To lose someone close to your heart
Changes everything you know
You’re never prepared for it
The difficult part is letting go

I took for granted the time we’d have,
And assumed way too much
I never realized until now
You were a buffer of such
Such things you knew
That would open the door
to bitterness and offense
Trying to shelter me from the storm

You knew, you could see
The way it would impact me
You knew, you could see
How life would affect me

We weren’t always close
Yet I find myself in your shoes
The way you responded is reflected in the things that I choose

I desperately want comfort
To come like a healing balm
Poured over the wounds in my heart
Like a sweet and peaceful psalm

I long for strong arms of love
To wrap around my soul
Holding me while I cry
“My God please mend, my God make me whole!”

This pain goes deep
It’s nothing I understand
It’s so far beyond my ability
I cannot comprehend
How You will take
The broken pieces of my heart
And put them back together
Giving me a brand new start

Forgive me when I struggle
To let go of my pride
To humble myself
Rather than stay away and hide
When opportunity arises
To shine Your light bright
Help me to let You in
To open my heart up wide

Nothing I do on my own
Will ever heal this hurt
It’s only when I call upon Your name
You pick me up out of the dirt
You dust me off
You hold my hand
You walk with me through this valley
Into my promised land

This place I cannot mend
Nothing I do on my own
Only You can give me hope
Only You restore my soul

The healing process
Is beyond my reach
It only comes from You alone
How to walk through it, that You will teach
Showing me how
To extend love and grace
To forgive those who fail me
I set my heart in this place

So that when expectations go unmet
By those I think should know better
I am reminded of their brokenness
That I too am a debtor

Teach me what to do
When I’m hurting this bad
Show me how to run to You
Whenever I feel sad

Make me willing to become
All You want me to be
The apple of Your eye
Whatever You want for me

This is my prayer
As the rains wash over my soul
Renew me, restore me
Again make me whole

And show me Your ways
That are much different from mine
You are the Branch
And I am the vine

From You I receive life
And all that I need
Because of Your love
Your heart for me did bleed
Your heart for me did bleed