Saturday, March 29, 2008

Memoir: Real Teaching

In English class last year, we were assigned to write a personal essay and the following post was a result. Several months later, I gave it to Miss Mischa on her birthday.

Small Hard Thing: Write a ‘memoir’ about someone special in your life and give it to them. It doesn’t have to be given on a special day, but simply giving it to them will make their day very special. It also doesn’t have to be for someone still alive. Writing it down will be preserving history.

Real Teaching

I walk in and see a beautiful woman in her early thirties. A delicate mass of brown curls frame the face of the “Queen of Smiles,” as her Korean husband calls her.She gives me a big hug and with her soft southern accent asks me how I’m doing. As we proceed through my piano lesson she professionally comments on my mistakes but has compassion when it’s just ‘one of those days.’ She’s always teaching me that music is a language and a gift from God.

Intermingled with the music are conversations. I tell her about school, Masters, what I’m reading, passions God has given me and more. Since last December she always talks about ‘Daniel’ and everything that’s Korean. We talk outside of lessons as well, sometimes for several hours. Miss Mischa is more than just my piano teacher. She’s taught me about life because I’ve seen her live.

May a year ago we kept her little girl for the day, while Miss Mischa’s husband moved out. I saw her summer before last when between depression, a torn heart, and nerve-damaged arms, it was all she could do to get through the day and teach her students. I was there when she had caught the vision of what a God-fearing, honorable romance can look like. She told me she didn’t want to stay single the rest of her life but she didn’t want to repeat the same mistakes. We talked about that for a long time. Then, after a lesson in December, I noticed a vase of roses on the counter. My mom read the poetry written on the note attached to them, and then…it spilled out. After that night all I heard about was ‘Daniel.’

I’ve seen her down and struggling in her marriage. I’ve seen her be a wonderful
mother to her little girl. I’ve seen her rise up victorious.

We talked about what a romance is supposed to look like, before she ever met Daniel. Then I got to see one. As I watched their first dance at their wedding reception in October, I cried. I cried as my thoughts drifted back to the summer when she was hurting so much, to our conversations about life, to her asking me to play part of the pre-wedding music, to now where I was seeing the beauty from the ashes, the refined vessel.

She’s more than a teacher. She’s a sister. A true friend. Now that’s real teaching.

1 comment:

Olivia said...

I'm soooooo glad you posted!