Sunday, December 6, 2009

Teachers in Disguise

Last night I lay in bed for a while thinking about the people who have been the greatest teachers in my life. What came to mind was quite amazing. I realized that those who have taught me most were not wise men or even educated people, but mostly common folks I met on ordinary occasions. All of them entered my life unexpectedly, and certainly left a mark upon their departure.

You see, sometimes the teachers are not the ones who are in our lives to remain, but those who only come in for a short while and upset the natural order of things during their brief stay. As they walk in, they quickly take on a center role, and become very important to us; we respect them, like them, even reflect ourselves into them. They may open our eyes to certain realities we had not considered before, or even force us to readjust our list of priorities, but their presence rarely goes unnoticed. When they leave – usually just as abruptly as when they arrived - they leave us with a mindful of questions and a feeling of void upon their departure.

Some of the most important teachers – those who have the potential of being catalysts for real change in our lives – are the people who have provoked or created some sort of strife. Their role is rarely a long one, and they accomplish their task in a breath of time; they may come into our lives disguised as a spouse, a lover, a spouse’s mistress, a belligerent co-worker, or even an overly dramatic friend. Their role is to jolt us out of the stagnant, repetitive pattern we have cozily allowed ourselves to find comfort in, and they can only complete their mission through high-charge actions that trigger powerful emotions within us.

By creating an emotional charge with their arrival, stay or departure, our teachers give us the necessary fuel, or the awareness we need, to make important decisions which will affect the way we approach life.

If we can look past the superficial negative connotation of the events that unfolded, we will see that we wouldn’t be who we are today had it not been for some of their input. We may be a better or worse person after meeting them, but that’s only because of the choices WE made in response to their actions. Their presence in our lives only had the purpose of triggering a choice or a different perception; which path we picked at the crossroads of our decisions was strictly up to us; even if one has horrible role models around as a child, they have the choice of following in their caregivers’ footsteps or going the opposite direction, using the example provided to them as a map of the unwanted zone they do not wish to walk into.

In my own life, I’ve met many teachers, young and old, kind and grouchy, rich or very poor; some have beautified my existence, while some have showed me a blueprint of hell; nevertheless, they have all taught me something, and I can only be grateful for the opportunity to have them in my life, even if only for a short while.

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