Does everything in life have — or have to have — a deeper meaning?
This year I was hit with a series of events that I do believe have a deeper meaning: My job was eliminated, I moved back to Des Moines then my mother became very ill and I have been able to be in Phoenix to help her out.
Mom’s illness is now three months old and we are still learning just how badly it afflicted her. We know she has suffered from three serious illnesses — valley fever, meningitis and C. Diff — which have battered her body. The meningitis immediately affected her brain and the bed rest she has needed has zapped her strength.
My brother Kerry bought her a couple of puzzle books so I pulled up a chair, sat right next to her and we worked on a puzzle. I stepped out of myself for a moment to watch — me, gently encouraging Mom to reason out each of the nine squares in the box, telling me which numbers were missing and where each fit. Then I had her write the number in each box.
Her right hand is very weak and her numbers show it. After doing just this much she was both mentally and physically whipped.
While doing this, I thought back to my teaching stint at the University of Missouri and how I progressed there, how much I learned about how others learn and how to best tap into their learning style. It’s too early for me to know Mom’s learning style, but I could easily see how gentle I was with her while encouraging her to think a bit harder about which numbers were missing and to write the number in the box.
I never imagined being a teacher to my own mother, but it felt right.
So back to the first question: does everything in life have to have a deeper meaning? Did I become a teacher because someday I would be in this position, of helping my mother rebound from these illnesses?
What do you think?