After class last night, I went with a couple of other students for a cup of coffee at Starbucks. In some ways, a debriefing session, to talk about what we had gotten out of the last two courses, how we have gotten to where we currently are, and where each of us sees ourselves going.
The conversation was rich and thought-provoking in many ways. But, tonight I wish to share a sentiment shared by one of the students.
N.D. talked about her upbringing, which she had shared with us before. There came a point where she was all alone, and basically living out of a car. Her dad had died, her mom was mentally ill, and the rest of her family shunned her.
Her life was hard; worse than she ever could imagine. She felt unwanted and unloved. She worried she might be ill, like her mom.
A friend reached out, helping her find a place to live. Helped her get on her feet. She decided to go to college.
In one of those classes, there was a professor who, every week, would get to her name, pause, and then comment on how he liked the name. Or that he found it an interesting name. Or that one day he would have to hear the story of her name. Every week. Pause. Comment.
These many years later, she recalled it so fondly. She said how it would embarrass her that he would pause every week.
But, she felt somebody cared that she existed. Somebody looked forward to that moment each week as much as she did. It meant so much to her.
She thinks about it to this day. About being that person, doing that thing, that makes another person feel seen, and noticed, and cared for. Even when she doesn’t know whether she’s making that difference in another person’s life, she’s hoping she is.