I believe people come into your life when you need them. And it works in reverse, you are put into others' lives for a reason.
Sheila here. Teachers are some of those people. I am so fortunate to have learned from first grade through college from very smart, very kind, and inspiring teachers. I caught up with one of them recently. Steve Weadock was my Civics teacher my senior year at Sidney High School. Sometime during that year, my classmates and I dubbed him Wead, and most of us still call him by that nickname to this day.
Wead had one of those smiles that would light up a room. He also had passion for his subject. He didn't just teach us about government, he was involved in it. He was the president of the teachers' union for many years, and he is still involved in the democratic party in his hometown. He made learning about politics and government interesting and fun, and what I learned from him is part of the education foundation I use today in my job as a journalist. Wead also cared deeply for his students, and many of them remain friends with him today. He has 1,110 friends on Facebook!
I also believe true friends are never really apart. Things they bring to your life stay with you over distance and time. Wead said it best the other day after we spent an hour catching up without a second's lapse in the conversation. He said, "this is the mark of a true friend, when years go by, and you can sit and talk as if you were never apart."
Wead fought a big bout with cancer a few years ago, and he won. It changed the way he looks at life. He is more grateful now, and I get the impression he enjoys things a lot more. Unfortunately, the cancer is back. I was a little worried about what I would find when I went to visit him, but he looks amazingly good for a man who's going through chemotherapy. He's pretty thin, but that smile, that welcoming, amazing smile is still there.
My teacher is still teaching. A minister asked him not long ago whether he was "good with eternity." Steve told him, "I'm fine with eternity, but I'm not ready to give up my friends and my stuff!" So he's doing some renovating around the house, he drives half an hour away to take care of his 93-year old mother, he still goes to political functions and writes letters to the editor, and he keeps up his friendships. He's not giving up.
I also believe in the power of prayer. I'm not going to go all religious here. Suffice it say, in my work as an interviewer and in my personal life, I've seen prayer work miracles. When he wrote on his Facebook page that the cancer was back, his friends started posting and sending up prayers.
Wead doesn't do sappy. Hearing a lot of sentiment about how much he means to people makes him uncomfortable, so I hope he won't think my thoughts here are too sappy. I'll just end with a request. If you get a minute, and you are so inclined, send up a prayer for Wead. He still has so much to teach us.