Today was difficult. 

On my way to school, the local radio host briefly mentioned that a teenager had been shot and killed at a nearby gas station. I said a prayer for the child’s family and friends. But then the host said something I wasn’t ready for. 

He said the victim’s name. 

And, immediately, a face flashed before my eyes, and I knew. I knew who the teenager was. I had had him in class. Only for about two weeks. But I had known him. 

And so today, it only feels right to say: Aaron, I’m so thankful that I got the chance to know you; too many people did not. And that breaks my heart. I will try to do a better job of remembering that I’m not guaranteed time with any of my students. And that if I want to learn from them, I need to be with them–really with them–in the moments we do have. The best way I know to honor your life is to grow in some way. And that is what I will do. 

“Happy is the heart that still feels pain; Darkness drains and light will come again.”[1]

Everybody by Ingrid Michaelson

[1] These words played right as I thought, “What can I possibly write about today?”


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