Seeing Love Over Pancakes

In his book Teach only Love, Jerry Jampolsky, tells us that: "It is central to our happiness that our years whether long or short be free of fear and anger and that our body be used as a means for- giving others the gift of kindness."

We were eating our favorite breakfast after church at our favorite restaurant; it is the only time I really enjoy eating pancakes. This morning, the restaurant was crowded; it was full of families with lots of children of all ages. The noise level was more than usual, and I found myself somewhat annoyed even though we had just attended a peaceful hour of church. I really wanted to eat my breakfast in peace and quiet, but a child near our table really didn't care.

It was hard to focus on our table conversation because of a small child in a high chair screaming at a table close by. I didn't want to turn around and look, but the pitch of the screams hit a decibel that made it difficult to ignore. Finally, the screams stopped, and I noticed a young mother walking behind her little boy who had been screaming earlier. Obviously, he was thrilled to be free from the high chair, and was now smiling as he made his way through the restaurant. I noticed his mom and thought about my daughters with my grandchildren, and my judgments and annoyance with this child shifted. I let go of my anger, and noticed that she was pretty and very attentive to her child. He was an early walker and needed to be closely watched so that he wouldn't hurt himself.

"Good for you" I thought…taking charge of the situation and giving a rest to our ears. I smiled at her loving kisses she gave the boy as she picked him up to return to their table. We finished our breakfast quietly and in peace. As we were leaving, we walked by the table where the young child and his mother sat with other family members.

Suddenly, another young woman was standing in front of me smiling, and I stopped.

"Hi Mrs. M.! Do you remember me? "It's Cate…you had me when I was in 9th grade…I was a handful!" I began to remember her face but her hair was a different color. "I'm married now and I'm 26 years old." She continued to talk with enthusiasm telling me about her life while her family gathered closer to us to listen to our conversation.

Jerry also reminds us in his book, "As we go through the day, we often become anxious to save time. But is there really a better use of our time than to listen to another in love?"

My husband had already paid the bill and was waiting, but I continued to stand in the middle of the restaurant and listen with love to this young woman who was my student and wanted me to know how she felt about me.

"You took time to listen to me even though I didn't want to hear it sometimes." she laughed…"You kept telling me that I could do it… and I did graduate! I'm even starting back to college soon."

"Good for you!" I smiled and we hugged each other. I then turned to see the young woman who was walking with the toddler just minutes ago. I recognized her face!

"Kim?" I said incredulously, and then I realized that Kim and Cate were sisters.

"This is my son; we are visiting from Florida, and you were one of my favorite teachers too!"

The memories of both girls began to flood my mind into distraction, and all I could do was stand there and smile at all of them; I was speechless and a little embarrassed from all the loving attention.

Their proud mother was standing close beside me and touched my arm. As I looked into her eyes, I saw tears… she spoke very softly, "You made a difference in her life…she's had a hard time… you cared about her, helped her…thank-you."

I felt my eyes burn with tears and again, I was at a loss for words…I recovered with, "You just made my day! Thank-you for stopping me and taking time to talk to me"…

As I walked away, I realized that those girls made a difference in my life too. They helped me to remove the barrier of fear that blocked my perception of love's presence in my life. When the teacher is ready, the student appears.

Jerry tells us, "Love knows no place it cannot go and no mind it cannot bring to rest."