Friday, February 10, 2012

Sigh No More

We are in the first weeks of the new semester at school and there is still plenty of that special brand of optimism that comes with new beginnings. I am so grateful because, ironically, as the new semester begins, my marriage keeps marching toward its bitter end.

In addition to the emotional turmoil that must be dealt with, there is the division of assets. A long-term marriage creates quite a little business that must be broken down, liquidated, and divided. Pride, emotions and cold hard dollars are involved.

It’s a tough process that can shake even the most confident of people in normal circumstances. Inflict it upon someone who is still recovering from the shock of a life-changing split, and it’s brutal. Letters from the opposing lawyer meant to intimidate, coerce, and bully must be read with ironclad emotional armor in place.

It’s hideous.

There is no other word for it.

However, I am lucky enough to have a job that challenges me and transports me to another level of being. When I am engaged with my classes, my brain is in a happy place. I get to devote my days to my students and to making the world a better place. Working at a community college means I have the added bonus of interacting with students of all ages, from all walks of life.

As I learn more about my students, I realize that many of them have come through much worse circumstances and have overcome greater obstacles than I face right now. And yet there they are, still willing to take a chance, to step inside an unfamiliar classroom and, especially in the case of writing, put their self-esteem in the hands of this sassy blond teacher who probably looks a lot like other teachers they’ve had over the years.

The other day I was walking around my classroom and I saw a student with a tattoo on his forearm that caught my eye. It was a simple phrase, written in a flowing script. “Sigh No More,” it read.

“Tell me about your tattoo,” I said. The young man looked at me and explained, “Well, you know, sometimes bad stuff happens in life, but you have to move on. You can't spend your life in regret. You can't dwell on the past. You move on and life goes on. No regrets." He pointed to his tattoo and shrugged, "Sigh no more.”

I could feel the tears starting to come to my eyes, but I caught myself before they fell. Instead, I smiled. "If I gave you a Sharpie, would you write that on my arm?” I asked. He looked surprised, but nodded and said, "Well, OK, sure."

Later, after class, he asked if we could take a picture together. As we posed together with our forearms outstretched, he said, “This is one of those days I am always going to remember.”

“Me too." I said with a lump in my throat, a smile on my face, and gratitude in my heart for all the optimistic young teachers I am blessed to be surrounded by every day.



52 comments:

Larri @ Seams Inspired said...

Beautiful. Thanks for sharing your heart today. Happy Friday, Betty! ☺

Talli Roland said...

Oh my God, I have tears in my eyes right now. What a wonderful post, Betty.

Mamma has spoken said...

Ah Betty another post that I needed!!
Son was served divorce papers yesterday and it was full of the mean hateful stuff that you talked about.
I plan to share your post with him.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You just impacted a young person's life in ways you can't even imagine, Betty. And I'm sure he impacted yours.

ellen abbott said...

Signs are everywhere if we will only see.

Shelly said...

I got a lump in my throat, too.

Linda said...

I love the bonding moment that you shared with that young man. He probably has never had anyone compliment him on his tattoo before...at least, not enough that they wanted to emulate it. I've said it before, I know, but I think you must be a wonderful teacher.

Ami said...

:::goosebumps::

And I know people type that and they don't really mean it but it made me shiver.

You are awesome, and I love you. :)

Elizabeth Grimes said...

That brought a lump to my throat. That's something you'll both remember for a long time. I love your outlook on beginning a new semester with your students. Keep up that attitude. :)

Teresa Evangeline said...

Beautiful, Betty, simply beautiful.

So, do you teach young people who are going to be teachers? If so, that is beyond cool. How very blessed they are.

"Sigh no more." Certainly worthy of "tattooing" on one's heart and mind.

Ruby said...

A simple yet very powerful phrase. Thanks for sharing this. I needed it very much today. Cheers, Ruby

Leah J. Utas said...

What a wonderful moment.

CiCi said...

Such a great experience for both teacher and student. And now for us, your readers. Amazing.

Mandy_Fish said...

You got me again. All verklempt and whatnot. Awesome post.

Also, someone may have mentioned this already but I didn't read the other comments, "Sigh No More" is the name of a CD by Mumford & Sons. I love it. You should give it a listen.

Nicole said...

Oh Betty. I am touched and moved and sad and hopeful..

BEAUTIFUL.

Old Kitty said...

Awww BB!! But what's a Sharpie!?!?!

Take care
x

laughingmom said...

Brought happy tears to my eyes! Have a great weekend!

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...

very beautiful, dear betty!

thanks so much for sharing this powerful post! that brought a lump in my throat, too.

very touching one!

Madi and Mom said...

WOW....BB it is absolutely amazing how some days EXACTLY what you need is right in front of you. 'Sigh no more'....oh my gosh that young man knows where he is going and how to get there and thankfully he shared it with you. 'Sigh no more' is the new 'don't cry over spilled milk'!!
Tell him he has a convert on the East Coast. If I were ever to get a tat it would be that but I won't so I'll just keep it in my mind.
Hugs C

jenny_o said...

I wonder what that young man has been through that brought him that piece of wisdom? Poignant and heart-warming post - like so many of yours, BB.

Out on the prairie said...

It is a harsh part of life but almost over, like your ink.

Susan Fields said...

I love your story, and your optimism in the face of such a difficult time. Good luck with everything!

Pat Tillett said...

I sure wish I had teachers like you. Maybe, I'd have actually been involved...
Sigh, no more...
LOVE that!
Great post Betty!

Brian said...

A wise tatoo duo!!!

Ms. A said...

This is one of those times when the student inspires the teacher. What a great inspiration! How fortunate for him, that he's acquiring knowledge, early on, that will help him along the road of life, we all know how bumpy that road can be, at times.

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

Ok, this made me cry.

Bouncin Barb said...

Just awesome!

Daisy said...

Aw, this was wonderful, Betty. :)

Christine Macdonald said...

Tears welling up as I type this comment.

Sigh no more, indeed.

xxoo

Gigi said...

"Sigh no more." This is so fitting for both you and me right now. If I had a Sharpie....

Many hugs to you, my friend. You will get through this and you will find that you are stronger than you ever thought possible. x

EmptyNester said...

I love the little signs that have been put in front of you during this difficult journey.

Anne Gallagher said...

Bravo Betty. One day, one step at a time. Sigh no more. Beautiful.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I had one of those wonderful days of teaching today, having lots of conversations with kids who have the world in front of them. Glad your day was upbeat too.

nomadwayoflife said...

Wow, that is a really heartfelt story. I actually got little tinglies. I'm sorry you're having such a rough time, but I hope things get better. I can't say that I know what it's like, a long time ago I came up with a bulletproof plan to to make sure I never have to worry about ever getting divorced..

never get married.

Catherine said...

I love this post Betty! Inspiration can come in such unexpected forms. Sometimes we just have to stop and look and as you did - ask! I'm glad you asked him what his tattoo was about. Excellent!
xo Catherine

Ann said...

awesome story Betty. It sounds like you both had an impact on each other. Life is good sometimes.

Retired English Teacher said...

That is just plain cool, Betty. We learn so much from our students, sometimes when we least expect it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Betty .. amazing and I love your take on it - that's just a great read ... have a great weekend .. Hilary

Susan in the Boonies said...

What a sweet guy! What a great teacher. The teachers I remember the most were the ones who authentically shared a bit of who they were with me. I'm sure you're one of those teachers, Betty.

floweringmama said...

You are truly a diamond in the rough. So many of the teachers that I deal with through my work and with my own children seem to have lost their enthusiasm and the reason they became teachers in the first place. It is so refreshing to know there are teachers who still listen to their students.

Hilary said...

The best teachers learn much from their students. You can bet that you will be that teacher that he remembers best... he and many others. Beautiful story, Betty.

BECKY said...

How beautiful!! This totally made my day....and it's not even noon yet! Thank you AGAIN, Betty, for always sharing such awesome events with us. Like the student said...he will always remember that day...I will always remember this particular blog post.

Sarah said...

He must be a little angel sent from above. Love to see you're getting stronger each day!

Kerri said...

Sigh No More is the name of a great cd by Mumford and Sons ...... On that cd there is a song that says. "there will come a time you'll see ......with no more tears and love will not break your heart..... but dismiss your fears.... get over your hill and see .... what you find there .... With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair." That verse has brought me great comfort is times of struggle.

Hoping you have more days that touch your heart in a good way!

Green Monkey said...

words to live by and... spelled correctly!

Lin said...

Sometimes angels whisper encouragement in the oddest of ways, don't they?

Sweet story.

LittleSilkDress said...

Simply amazing. Bless that young man.

Shan said...

I love this leap you've taken.

Flartus said...

Yeah, this one definitely needs to go in the book. You know, all the brightest teachers have tattoos now...just sayin'. :)

Zuzana said...

Beautiful. I have touched upon similar subject(s) in my post today.;)
I am too still on the road of recovery and despite what happened to me, I have no regrets. I never had before nor I hope I never will. I struggle more with that forgiving part right now, amazingly that is the hardest thing for me to do.
"Sigh no more", I better remember that.;)
Have a great week and thank you for sharing yet another beautifully poignant writing with us.;)
xoxo

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

Playing catch up today and I'm so glad I read this post. Truly awesome. :)

Leanne said...

I read this when you posted it last week, and didn't have the time to leave a comment. Then over the weekend, my sister phoned and said "Did you read Betty?" My sister reads you regularly and never comments, but will usually call me when one of your posts touches her heart. You touched us both with this one, my friend. Sigh no more. Beautiful story, and I am so glad you shared it with us all. Sigh no more.