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“When I got enough confidence, the stage was gone. When I was sure of losing, I won. When I needed people the most, they left me. When I learnt to dry my tears, I found a shoulder to cry on. And when I mastered the art of hating, somebody started loving me.” -Shakespeare
“If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn’t walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her. Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.” (The 4 Agreements)
Last week a dear friend shared this Turkish folk story with me. It brought tears to my eyes, because it summed up exactly what I seemed to be going through at that moment. I was eventually able to locate it online. Enjoy!
Once upon a time, a flower met water and they became friends. After their friendship had continued for some time, the flower fell in love with the water, but she didn't reveal her feelings to the water. She waited thirstily, patiently. Actually, the water had changed, too. He felt different.
His heart beat excitedly, but he couldn't figure out exactly what this change inside him meant. Now, there was a wise man who stopped by every once in a while. As soon as the water saw the wise man, he told him about the inner turmoil he was experiencing and asked what the cause was. The wiseman smiled at him and said, "YOU'RE IN LOVE."
The water was surprised at first, but he immediately recognized who he was in love with and flowed to the flower.
"I LOVE YOU!" he confessed to the flower.
The flower had long been waiting to hear these words from the one she loved. Deliriously happy, she began from that day onto waft a stronger perfume and shine with more lively color. The inexperienced water didn't know how to deal with the feelings of passion in his heart, and so, didn't do anything else to demonstrate his love, other than say, "I LOVE YOU!" to the flower each day.
Time passed, and the flower fell ill. The water stayed by his beloved's side and told her constantly how much he loved her. But, as each day passed, the flower withered more and her leaves turned even more yellow. The water was despondent; he didn't know what to do. The flower was fading day by day; she was dying. Desperate, the water flowed to the wise man and cried, "MY BELOVED IS VERY ILL. HELP US!"
When the wise man saw the flower, he understood immediately that she was about to die, and he said, "I CAN'T HELP YOU ANYMORE."
The water asked, "BUT, WHY NOT?" I LOVE HER SO MUCH.... WHY NOT?" he cried.
The wise man answered,"ACTUALLY, MY FRIEND, THIS FLOWER IS NOT ILL. SHE'S LACKING WATER. THAT IS WHY SHE WILL DIE."
And the water understood that merely saying, "I LOVE YOU!" was not enough. He learned that in order for his beloved and,in fact, for all love, to survive, it was necessary to show his love, to prove his love, and to spend effort on love. But, unfortunately, his flower had passed away.
In a nutshell, "Actions speak louder than words..."
As the saying goes, a woman is like the weather –
unpredictable! I’m no exception to this rule.On my way to the movies this evening, I took a detour and ended up
sharing dinner with two special people.
I know that by judging by my photo uploads, it may seem as
if ALL my students are special. They are. And I pride myself on having unique
relationships with each of them. Essentially, my students are clients. Yet, for
me – they are first people. Before they’re a student in my class or one who
visits my office, I have to remember that they are a son, daughter, brother,
sister, husband, wife, father or mother to someone else.
So, back to my story of dinner this evening…
“What is the benefit of your job for you?” one asked me.
“Wow – do you have enough time?!” I replied.
My job has made me super rich. I kid you not! I consider
myself rich in knowledge of cultures, religions and lifestyles of people
throughout the world. Most importantly I’m rich in love. There are days I can’t
fathom the love I receive from the people I work with. I mean genuine caring
for me! How can I not feel fulfilled with a job like this?
While teaching, I maintained a strict rule of boundaries with
my students. Work + Play = No.
However, since being in my current position of AY
Coordinator this year, I have come to know a number of students on a
non-academic level. I’ve spoken to people who are terribly homesick and afraid
to tell their families, people who are lonely and unwilling to make friends,
people who are ill, people who have ended long-term relationships and are here
in South Africa trying to “find” themselves.
Whatever the reason may be, there are few with whom I have
felt a strong connection with.
This evening while chatting to Yousef, he told me that he
will most likely be leaving Cape Town at the end of October. For a reason
unbeknown to me, I have come to regard Yousef as a brother. I just stared back
at him and that is when I made the realization of why I DON’T like my job.
Goodbyes are unpleasant for anyone. But if I think of the
past 3 months at least, I’ve had to say goodbye to people like Serif, Meral and
Ho-Yong – who I felt a personal responsibility for. Having lived in Korea for
three years, I felt responsible to take care of him here just as I was when I was
in his country a few years ago.
This is it. This is the reason why I DON’T like my job. Saying
goodbye to these people who have made a lasting impression on me.
Some may argue that I get emotionally attached too quickly. Perhaps.
But I refuse to let my heart prune up and become hard.
In conclusion, the reason I have become rich is through the genuine
love I have for the people I work for and teach. Everyday feels like a trip
around the world and I thank them for allowing me into their space, their homes
and their heart.
Yet…the number one reason I DON’T like my job is bidding
someone farewell. It's the nature of my job. Students are here for a limited period of time and ultimately - if there is no other reason for them to stay here - they return to their home countries. Back to their own life as they know it!
But this is the cycle of life, not so? There isn’t a single
person whom I’ve met who has not taught me something. For this, I thank each
and every one of you. And believe me when I say that I have a special place in
my heart reserved for every individual! J