A story worth telling

As I took my seat for lunch, I looked at my phone — four new messages from my work account. “Please come to get a parcel at the office”. I quickly ate and took a brisk walk to the front office to find out what surprise was waiting for me.

A large box from South Korea! The students and parents from my class in Seoul last year joined together to shower me with Christmas gifts. Gifts of jewelry, socks, nail polish, Korean tea, mints, chocolate, candy, Christmas goodies, and a scarf! What’s more were the homemade cards from the children with I love you’s and I miss you’s with photos of how much they’ve grown and the heartfelt notes from moms extending personal notes of encouragement during my long distance relationship, thanking me for being a special teacher to their children, and even a moving formal recommendation letter.

The only thing I can use to accurately describe the deep love I feel from the parcel are with the tears that welled up as I read each card. Tears that are present because of what I’m about to tell you.

As a teen, nearly 20 years ago, I lost meaning in life. It was a sad, dark place. I was a hollow shell. My parents feared for me and so did I. I found the desire for and got the help I needed in the late 90s and my life has never been the same. I craved for meaning and searched for it.

Now, I find meaning in so many places and with so many people around the world. After coming from such a dark place, all this light is sometimes overwhelming. But it is an utterly amazing type of overwhelming that I hope everyone has the chance to experience.

Outside of spiritual matters, some other meaning in life I have discovered is within my profession. I choose to teach to work alongside parents to help their children become their best. I tend to forget this purpose in teaching and this parcel reminded me of this basic element of my purpose as an educator.

But the parcel means much more than a sweet reminder of this. These parents had no idea, but they gave me and my parents the best gift — a symbol of positive change in my life and a reminder that I live in the light.

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