I had this teacher once. Mr. “R” was not considered a “cool” teacher. He didn’t play favorites. He taught. He showed me how to find the various innards of an earthworm, taught me math and literature, and instructed me in the fine arts. I learned about pointillism and ringing handbells. He also insisted that if we didn’t get something right, we had to try again until we did get it right. When I went up to his desk to ask him a question, he would look at me as if I should already know the answer. I probably was supposed to know the answer, but knowing me, I had been daydreaming when he had given us directions. Mr. “R” was a tough teacher, which made him a good teacher. Strict, yet kind.
Mr. “R” was also the church musician and so years after I had Mr. “R” as a teacher, he was my choir director. I was able to get to know him as an adult. We always had fun rehearsing with Mr. “R”!
It was during this time that I was diagnosed with breast cancer. While I valued all the cards and letters I received, I treasured the letters Mr. “R” sent me. “The news of your health has haunted me for these past few days…” he wrote in his beautiful script. “Along with depressed moments during these dark days ‘have no anxiety about anything…’ Philippians 4:6” he encouraged me.
A few years ago, Mr. “R” passed away from cancer himself. I have kept his letters in my “cancer” scrapbook, and they bring back fond memories of him. I wonder, did he know how much his letters meant to me?
And so, Mr. “R”, I send you a much belated “Thank You” for so much encouragement during a dark time in my life. You are an inspiration to me as I strive to encourage other women who are in similar situations. I just hope I can be as encouraging to them as you were to me.