Our Lives Connected

The note slipped from the drawer it had been stashed away in for several years. Marcia opened it, and it didn’t take long for the tears to flow. It was handwritten by her favorite teacher.  Mrs. Baranski was everybody’s favorite teacher. Reading her sweet, encouraging words was incredibly timely because of what Marcia was going through at the time.  She wished she could pick up the phone and call her. She could not. Mrs. Baranski passed away years ago.

But the teacher was still teaching.

We are so connected. Watch the dominoes fall.

I was thinking about Marcia’s story when I decided to reach out to a few teachers who made an impact on me. Three of them immediately came to mind. I contacted them and told them how important they were to my life. I thanked them for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I told them they were never forgotten. I posted on Facebook how great that felt and how awesome it was hearing back from them.  My friend, Roxanne saw that post. She has been a teacher for almost twenty years.  There have been so many great kids in her classes. She has laughed with them, cried with them and comforted them.  She even helped one student who confided in her that she was being hit by her mom.  So in the last few weeks, Roxanne has contacted several students to thank them—for the fun, the memories, the connection.

And one student stood out.

Allie was in her sixth grade class the year Roxanne’s mother died of cancer. Allie and her classmates were so supportive. They had no idea how their sweet faces and their little drawings helped their teacher heal. Fast forward several years to last September. Roxanne was at her father’s hospital bedside late one night. She stepped into the hallway where she spotted a familiar face:  It was Allie. She’s now a nurse, and she was working the night shift—the night Roxanne’s father passed away. “When my dad died, the only thing I remember after hitting the call button was my husband on one side of me and my former student, Allie on the other. It was God’s plan all along.”This past Thanksgiving, Roxanne connected with Allie because I connected with Mrs. Bomboske and Mr. Reer because Mrs. Baranski found a way to connect with Marcia years after she was gone. It seems our connections are strong enough to endure no matter what.

Where will the dominoes fall next in our lives connected?

  • Roxanne Schmerheim Topham

    Thanks for writing this Curt. You never know when your paths will cross with someone from the past. Take a moment and reach out to thank someone who meant something to you. It doesn’t cost anything to say thank you. Believe me, it will be worth it!

  • Roxanne Schmerheim Topham

    I received this message from Allie today and had to share it with you.
    “That article about us made my dad really proud of me which every child loves to hear . Being a nurse is not always easy or rewarding but getting a thank you like that refueled my passion. After your dad’s passing I’ve been thinking a lot about being a hospice nurse”

    Your writing continues to touch lives in so many ways. I just wanted to say thank you again and keep it up. Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!