Thursday, April 10, 2008

Thank You Mrs. Evans

A few posts back I found the courage to make public the dream in my heart. I'm really glad I did - although I now feel strangely exposed. The secret is out and now I am accountable. But that is probably just what I needed to give me that last push. Because I have started. I have started writing my book. Wow - that feels really weird to say! It also feels scary, intimidating, doubtful, but most of all it feels joyful. Joyful, I think, because I have a plan for my future. Joyful because I am reaching for a dream I have had for most of my life. Joyful because I just love the challenge of putting words together that tell a story. Joyful because I think I am making God smile.

I first knew I wanted to write in the 4th grade. I was never a confident, secure child - even into my teen years. I was shy, quiet, and much more comfortable unnoticed. That's just my personality. In a lot of ways I am still that way today although being married to a pastor has forced me out of my comfort zone in more ways than I can count. In the 4th grade my teacher was a beautiful, young, black woman named Mrs. Evans. She only taught in our school for a year or two and I don't know anything about her other than she was very kind and gentle. I bonded to her immediately. During the year one of our assignments was to write a story. Mrs. Evans gave us the first paragraph and we were to go from there. Today I don't remember what the story was about. I don't remember any of the details at all. But I do remember how I felt when my teacher approached me and carefully asked me if I had really been the person who had written that story. She wanted to know if anyone had helped me. I didn't really know why she was asking me those questions. I told her I had written the story myself. At the end of the week she selected the three best stories and asked the writers to stand in front of the class and read their story outloud to everyone. Mine was one selected.

That was 40 years ago. There are many, many things I cannot remember from 40 years ago. But I clearly remember how I felt that day. I felt special, capable, and talented. I felt secure. And I felt joyful. And when I write today, I feel those things all over again. That is when my love for writing began.

There were other times in grade school and high school when writing made me feel worthwhile and important. Like I could really do something. I learned that even though I was quiet and not good at expressing myself with speaking, I could say exactly what I wanted through writing. There have been other times that my desire to write has been confirmed through people and occurances. But that first time, in the 4th grade, is one that will always be dearest to my heart.

I know the writing journey is not going to always be joyful. I know there are going to many frustrations and hard places. I know there are many rejection letters looming on the horizon. But right now, today, I am going to focus on the joyful aspect of it. And I am going to say a prayer of thanks for a woman who never knew the impact she had on a young girls life. Thank you Mrs. Evans. Wherever you are. Thank you.


Becky said...

Robin ... I love this! I just love it. I too have a special place in my heart for my 3rd grade teacher. I know it is because, at a time when my entire world was literally falling apart at home, she was that loving and gentle calm in the storm.

Perhaps it was because of her, these many, many years later, that I chose 3rd grade as my own place as a teacher.

And as a teacher, I can tell you that the good ones always keep on the forefront of their minds that they are affecting much, much more than just an academic need in a child. Much.

I love this, Robin!

gail@more than a song said...

How exciting! And thank you for sharing it with us. I love that about focusing on the joyful part for now...and I love what you said about being a pastor's wife pulling you out of your comfort zone. I'm sure your church is blessed because of you being willing! I've known some pastors wives who wouldn't be pulled out to know anyone and I felt a sense of loss not knowing them. I'm sure your friends are blessed that they've gotten to know you!

Baba's Blog .. Babies Are Special said...

Hi Robin, How wonderful that you are doing something that warms your heart and makes you feel good...sometimes we can express ourselves on paper better than talking to people about our feelings.My daughter would have been a good writer, she could create stories on paper many years ago...keep following your dreams...
Hugs, Baba

Woman in the Tent said...

Best wishes on your book.

Dawn said...

My writing inspiration was my high school English teacher - Mrs. B. She made me co-editor of the newspaper my first day in a new school - I raised my hand, as well as another girl. I knew she'd get the job, because she'd been there forever. But she let us co-edit our senior year, grooming our junior year. What an amazing experience it was. She was an amazing teacher - my creative writing began that junior year. But seldom do I do fiction. I am so happy that you are having such a good time with this new beginning!

Mishel said...

This was such an awesome post Robin! It actually brought tears to my eyes. I don't think we can ever underestimate the influence of a good teacher. It's so much more than just about academics. My home life was not the greatest growing up, and I'm so thankful for those teachers I had through the years that saw the girl *behind* the pain and took time to encourage me. Honestly, I haven't thought much about those teachers in a long time, but your post reminded me...and it's good to remember.

Blessings to you on your exciting writing journey! I'm looking forward to hearing (and reading!) what God is going to do through you! : )