Today I found out some pretty awful news; my gym teacher from high school passed away. She was very young and she left behind a lot of people that love her. I was not close with her, but, as weird as this may sound, we had a mutual “like.” I liked and respected her and she liked and respected me. Her gym classes were the best that I ever had and she was the best gym teacher that I ever had. My high school gym teacher was a great person. She was so full of life and always welcomed friendly competition. She was fun and she was fearless. I remember one day after gym class, I accidentally dropped my ring into the toilet (just so you don’t gag reading this, I will let you know there was only water in the toilet). I let her know so that we could figure out a way to get it out of the toilet because I really didn’t know what to do. As soon as I told her what happened, she said, “Is there anything in it?” I said no, and she said, “Oh, that’s no big deal.” She proceeded to go into the locker room bathroom and without hesitation stuck her hand in the toilet to get it for me. Now that I have grossed everyone out, my point in telling that story is to show how awesome she was. She stuck her hand in a toilet to help me out (I don’t know many people that would have done the same). Like I said, she was fun, competitive, and cool, but most of all, she was a teacher that cared. She was one of those teachers that makes a school the school that it is and that the school could never be the same without. She always hosted our Christmas dodge ball tournaments, which were really fun and she was the coach of the softball team. She gave her time and self to our school and she gave her time and self to the students. She will never be forgotten because she was good at being who she was created to be.
I was not originally going to post about this, as I had just learned about her passing away earlier today. What I was going to post is the following prayer that I found on the back of a card that I got at my local Catholic Campus Ministry:
Radiating Christ by Blessed John Henry Newman (and a prayer that Blessed Mother Teresa enjoyed):
“Dear Jesus, Help me to spread Your fragrance wherever I go. Flood my soul with Your Spirit and Life. Penetrate and possess my being so utterly That my life may only be a radiance of Yours. Shine through me, and be so in me That every soul I come in contact with May feel Your Presence in my soul. Let them look up, and see no longer me but only Jesus. Stay with me. And then I will begin to shine as You shine, So to shine as to be a light to others. The light, O Jesus, will be all from You. None of it will be mine. It will be You, shining on others through me. Let me thus praise You In the way in which You love best: By shining on those around me. Let me preach You without preaching. Not by words, but by example, By the catching force, The sympathetic influence of what I do, The evident fullness of the love My heart bears for You. Amen.”
When I read this prayer, I just thought about how beautiful the words are, and not only that, but how true they are for any Christian. We desire for Christ to be seen in us, and, furthermore, for people to only see Jesus. God designed each and every one of us in a unique and beautiful way. It is up to us to be that person who God has called us to be because we are the only ones who can perform that part of God’s Plan. So I encourage everyone as my Dad did while I was going through some hard times; let your light shine. The light in you is Jesus and people need to see Him. Whether that means sticking your hand in the toilet to get someone’s ring out for them or to be the lively and enthusiastic person that God made you to be, like my gym teacher was, be that person! God loves that person so dearly; He loves you. It is hard to be yourself (I know because, for me, caring about what others think has been a life-long struggle), but I urge you to be that person because you cannot be replaced and you uniquely shine Christ’s light onto others. Don’t stifle His light, God will do incredible things (even in everyday life) through you if you let it shine.
Matthew 5: 14-16