The Gift …
Has there ever been an individual in your life, who was “right there” for you at the “right time and the right place” … and vice-versa, YOU were where YOU needed to be at the right time and place … ready to embrace what wisdom was about to be bestowed on you, ready to embark on whatever unknown journey was about to unfold before you? Most of us can answer “yes” to that question … maybe several individuals and circumstances come to mind … people who, and/or experiences which, significantly and permanently altered the course of your personal or professional life, for the better .
Nothing in Life is accidental, nothing in Life is coincidental … all that happens to us is as it needs to be at any given moment in time … and quite often for a purpose much bigger and greater than ourselves. There’s a spiritual belief that “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. Such was the case in 1991 when I initially entered a particular graduate business school classroom and met my instructor for the next 15 weeks, Mr. Cross.
In 1991, I was already going through a period of growth and change as it was … recognizing that some long-held belief structures and the status quo “weren’t right” … maybe right for some, that’s not mine to judge … but they weren’t right for me … and I didn’t quite know at that time what exactly was “right” for me, just that I had to seek my own truth.
Mr. Cross was a business professional by day, and an adjunct professor by night. At 6p every Tuesday evening, into and up to the front of the classroom ran Mr. Cross … and I mean literally ran … a 50-something bundle of non-stop energy … and he was STILL that way when class ended at 10p !!! I’d never seen anything like it … whatever he was “on”, I wanted to know where I could get some too! But seriously, he wasn’t “on” anything … this man simply loved and believed in what he was teaching; and he loved Life and everything that Life held, good and bad.
Throughout each class, whether explaining what we were about cover or what our assignment would be for the following week, Mr. Cross’ rather trademark question-exclamation was always “Sounds like a good place to be, right? … Please say ‘Yes’ !” Initially we would mumble “yes” … and then he would ask the same question more emphatically so he received an audible “yes” from us. I’m telling you, his zeal and enthusiasm each week were contagious … by our 4th week of class, we were responding in unison with a jubilant “YES” !!! Personally, oh my gosh this was sooooo where I wanted to be … I couldn’t wait for Tuesday evenings to come around each week … there was an intangible “something” so special about this class … the energy, the positive feedback and reinforcement, each member of this class was treated by Mr. Cross as the “sacred individual” that he / she was, each person’s opinions and experiences were valued as if they were the only drop of precious water to be found. This was an environment like nothing I’d ever been in … and I treasured every minute of it.
The following (2) semesters, I was blessed to be a Teaching Assistant for Mr. Cross … additional chapters in my Life-changing genesis … abundant opportunities to “give back what I had received initially” and “pay it forward”.
And then my coursework took me in a different career direction … months later, Mr. Cross’ business managerial career transferred him to an out-of-state office, and we lost touch permanently. Fast forward to present day, 2012 …
A few days ago, I was saddened to read of Mr. Cross’ passing last winter … I stumbled upon his obituary in a graduate school periodical I receive. He had retired from business and teaching in 2005, enjoyed several years in retirement, but had lost a short-lived battle with cancer. I cried hard. How fleeting his time with each of his students over the years, including myself … but what a GIFT he was to those of us who chose to receive such!
How fleeting the time that ANY of us have with each other … I challenge YOU to be a Gift to the people in your own Life circles … leave a legacy, a living part of yourself with them … when they are ready as a “student”, their “teacher” will appear … their “teacher” is YOU!