Today is the fourth installment of “The Gift of Joy” series. Today I am focusing on two people in my life that bring me joy. I have written about so many people in my life. I have written about what they have taught me, what they have done for me, and what their presence in my life means to me. As I was getting ready to write this post, it dawned on me that there are two very important people in my life about whom I have not written. So, I decided to use this opportunity to tell you a little bit about them and share with all of you the joy that they have brought into my life.
The first person is my best friend, Jerrah. Jerrah and I met almost ten years ago when she started teaching at my school. She is also a special education teacher, and her room was next door to mine. For the first couple of months after school began, I would see Jerrah in the hall and we would speak, but that was pretty much it. One day I went to her room after school just to see how everything was going for her with her new job. Almost forty-five minutes later, I left her room knowing that I had just met someone who would be very important to me for the rest of my life. The connection was instant. I have met very few people in my life that I instantly clicked with, but Jerrah was one of those people. Over the next few years, Jerrah and I continued to work together and our relationship became stronger and stronger. Looking back on it now, those years that Jerrah and I worked together were the best years of my teaching career. I looked forward to going to school, and we had so much fun together. I really do not think I have laughed as much at work as I did in the years that Jerrah and I worked together. Jeff and I also began hanging out with Jerrah and her husband, Jason, which only helped to make our friendship stronger. Our dogs played together, too, which was always fun to watch. Eventually Jerrah took a different job which took her out of the building in which I teach. She still works for the same school system that I do, but we do not get to see each other as much as we once did. However, Jerrah continues to be an enormous and important part of my life. She has been there for me in the worst of times and the best of times. She has seen me fall and has always been there to help me pick myself up and move forward in life. She has done all of this with the compassion and humor that only she can provide. There has never been a time in my life where I said, “I need you” that she has not been there. I could write for many more hours telling you what Jerrah means to me, but this post would be way too long to read, so I will sum it up by saying that Jerrah has brought so much joy to my life, and I could not imagine my life without her. She has meant more to me than she probably even knows, and I am very thankful that God caused our paths to cross as we walk this journey of life together.
Jerrah with her Miniature Schnauzer, Taylor
The second person is my friend, Diane. Diane and I met almost 20 years ago. She was my aide in 1999. She was only my aide for a couple of months because she was moved to a different school. Over the years, we often worked in the same building. We would talk on the playground and in the hallway. However, one day in the teachers’ lounge our friendship was cemented. Diane was talking to me about Tennessee Williams and telling me how much she enjoyed him. Now, if you knew me very well, you would know that I am not an expert when it comes to famous playwrights. However, I replied, “I love him too. I used to love to watch his variety show!” Diane gave me a funny look, and then I realized that she was talking about Tennessee Williams and I was talking about Tennessee Ernie Ford! We laughed, and we have been close friends ever since. In many ways, Diane has become a second mother to me. She worries about me, checks on me, and takes care of me. Diane has a dry sense of humor that I love, and she can take any stressful situation and say something sarcastically that makes me laugh and makes everything not seem so bad. God has certainly blessed her with the ability to make others laugh, and I am very thankful to have been a recipient of that gift. I am so thankful that God has placed Diane in my life, and the joy she has brought to my life is immeasurable. I know that anytime I need her, she will be there for me and those type of friends do not come around very often.
Diane with Parker and Peyton
God knows what each of us needs as we travel through this life. He knows the tools that we need to overcome obstacles along the path, and He instills those within each of us. He knows that we need to walk this journey with other people by our side, and He has given those people gifts that will assist us while we navigate the path. We should never think for a moment that God has not placed every single person we come into contact with in our lives for a reason. It is one of the many ways that God brings joy and comfort to us. So, take a moment and look around at some of the people who God has placed in your life and make sure that you tell them and God that you are thankful for them. The people we encounter in this life will teach us so many things, and they have the ability to bring us peace and PEACE MATTERS.