I’ve been having one of those weeks where I felt like yelling out, “Bah, Humbug!” every five minutes. I’d broken out in some horrible itchy rash that hadn’t responded to the steroid meds the doctor assured me would kick in immediately. Not only do I look like crap, but I feel like total crap! Meantime, I’m off to visit my family for a week. I adore my family, but visiting my 96 year old mom doesn’t qualify as much of a pick-me-up. Deep into progressive dementia, she hung up on me yesterday because I was not in Boston and therefore was “of no use to her” in escaping from her aide whom she believed was imprisoning her.
Sometimes, though, a meaningful gesture of thanks can totally turn things around. This morning, I got the loveliest email from a student I’ve been blessed to have for two semesters. A brilliant young man who’s shooting for a career in medicine, he confessed to me that the flirtation with drugs he’d alluded to in a memoir he wrote last year was much more serious. In fact, his addiction had gone on for two years. When he went into recovery, he moved away from his old friends and said he felt terrible about himself and had lost his self-confidence. He told me that my positive energy was a big morale boost for him. He thanked me for the care I give to students and said: “Choosing you as a professor really helped change my opinion about college… I found going to class exciting for the first time in my life and enjoyed pushing my limits as a person.”
After reading his words, I experienced such a sense of warmth and gratitude. “This is why I teach,” I told my husband. To know that you’ve made a positive difference in even one student’s life is so incredibly rewarding and meaningful.
Despite being really, really itchy, I am so thankful!
P.S. Also very thankful that our beloved cat Lucy whom I wrote about in my last blog is now home from the animal hospital and doing so much better. Thanks to all of you for your positive thoughts and prayers.