Tag Archives: teacher

Life’s Surprises That Mean Everything

Although it’s been more than twenty years since I taught first grade

the memories of those children  continue to fill my life with joy and meaning.

I will never forget that unexpected meeting that I had a few years ago.

It was a seemingly ordinary day that I drove my car to the service station for an inspection.

While they worked on my car that day I sat reading a book.

Suddenly the door flung open and a tall, yes very tall man strode in.

I watched while he stepped over to the counter and began talking about what work needed to be done on his car.

Ordinary. Very ordinary.  At least it seemed  so to me.

I went back to reading my book.

All of a sudden I heard a deep  voice.

“Miss Brani?” I looked up and met the eyes of this big man.

“You remember me?” he asked with a chuckle as he came towards me.

I put my book aside and stood up to greet him rapidly studying his face.

His more than 6 foot presence dwarfed my small body.

“Marcus? Is it you?” I asked and he went right on laughing seeming to enjoy this moment with his first grade teacher.

He scooped me in a giant hug.

Amazing to see your students grow and become almost bigger than life.

Waves of pride flooded  over me as I took in his laughter and joy.

We talked for a while and he caught me up on his life.

He was happy and doing well. I couldn’t have wanted more for him.

Yes, the boy who sat in the first row in the back had discovered satisfaction in life.

It was a shining moment that glistened with joy.


Well a few years later I heard that my boy had been tragically shot and killed.

I wept when I heard the news.

All too soon his life was ended.

But then I thought back to that meeting on that ordinary day at the service station.

I remembered that hug and his joy in telling me how well he was doing.

Deep down my heart was glad that I had had that encounter.

For  long time I could not write about it. It was too priceless.

My boy, yes he will always be my boy,

had learned what really mattered in life.

That mattered more to me than if he had lived to be a hundred.

Yes, wGracie October 2014hat more could I, his first grade teacher, ask for?






Shining Moments

Life flows along like a seemingly endless pathway

weaving threads of different colors and textures.

Some times I am suddenly drawn back to a previous time

and my heart thrills with the reminder

that yesterday, today and tomorrow are all part of the same path.

Let me share with you what happened.

Easter morning.

Everyone dressed up

sitting in the pew.

Bigger crowd than usual.

We got to the part of the service

when we turn to greet the ones around us.

I turned to the right

shook a few hands

then to the left

and greeted some more.

Then I sat down preparing for the next part of the service.

Voices began to quiet

and then I heard a voice from behind speak my name.

“Happy Easter, Miss Brani.”

I glanced over my right shoulder

and noticed a man with his hand outstretched towards me.

“Oh, thank you,” I smiled reaching back to shake his hand.

His eyes met mine

and for just a second I was reminded of him as my first grade student.

Marvelous memories of those days so long ago.

I swallowed my deep feelings before I spoke.

“Happy Easter,” I whispered back.

Yes, he was still my boy.

The years have come and gone

but those first graders have a forever place in my heart.



and tomorrow.

That short interaction was golden to me.

Just as suddenly it was announced in church

that another of my former students had been tragically killed.

My thoughts went back

way back to my first year teaching in Virginia.

He sat close to the windows.

Last one in the row.

We got the largest desk for him

he was that tall.

Always kind and respectful.

As the church sang the Easter hymn

my heart beat for my dear first graders.




You, boys and girls, gave me so much joy back then

and still do.

We are still connected through the years

by a love that does not change.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20

The years may come and go

but His Love for us never changes.


In a very small way

I understand. Yes, I think I can understand.