Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?
Growing up in a Catholic community and attending parochial school – my life was filled with priests and nuns including my loving aunt. But this is about a certain nun that had a profound effect on my childhood and made me a stronger Christian than I think she could ever imagine. Her name Sister Regina, she was my piano instructor/teacher/mentor. I took piano lessons for 6 years, never really was her best student. I had friends with longer fingers that made the keys sing, my short stubby fingers had a less than effective sound on occasion. But Sister Regina, just said I could do it, and she believed that I could make beautiful music if I practiced. There in lies the problem, I really didn’t practice all that much, I was more interested in reading, remember in early post about how many books I devoured one summer. Well that same spring was when Sister Regina took me aside after a lesson, sat me down and had a heart to heart with me, I would be entering 6th grade that fall and had the opportunity to change instruments when we transferred into 7th grade. Sister Regina was a sprite of woman, she barely stood 4’6″, she was also a bit round, (pleasingly plump my grandma said) and looking back she was old even ancient in my eyes. (maybe in her 50’s) I was sitting on the end of the piano bench, and she stood before me. In her voice was a pattern that reminded me of a metronome. (which was turned on the moment we walked into lesson) “My dear Julie, I believe you could do better than what you are giving me in these lessons. I believe that you could succeed at the piano and become a great player but my dear your heart is not in it. You have no passion and drive to play, your passion and drive must lie elsewhere. God has made you unique for his purpose and little one piano is not his purpose for you. You have a passion in you I can see it in your eyes. I will not expect you to return to lessons unless you focus that passion on piano and not what burns in your heart. I believe as a teacher I owe it to you to tell you that the potential is there but your drive is not. Find your passion little one, you have a whole lifetime to master it.” And with that she left the practice room. I didn’t get to say a word, but that was her way, always was, she would talk we the student would listen and not talk back. To this day those simple words “YOUR PASSION AND DRIVE MUST LIE ELSEWHERE” left a hole in my heart that I spent the better part of the next twenty years searching for. But I found it, its my giving Christian spirit. My spirit, and soul, practically sing when I give, its my driving force it is what makes me tick… But without that day where one little nun took her time and realized that I was cheating the world of me, I would have continued on that same path. What was maybe the easiest thing that I ever did, was letting go of the lessons, I did not ever go back to the piano, I did dabble with clarinet, but this too was not my passion. I did not excel at sports, so I knew that was not my passion. I liked the fuzzy feeling I got when I helped someone, gave a portion of me to another, my time, my resources, my effort. By the time I was in my thirties I knew without a doubt that helping others, doing for others, and giving to others made me feel alive. Thanks, Sister Regina for allowing me to find my spark in this life. I feel totally blessed that she had enough insight to see me for me and not make me into something I was not. Other teachers may not have seen the lack of passion and taken the time to lay it back on the student. For this I will be forever grateful to the one who did see and who took her time with me those 6 long years of practice. Even though she would never see her seed of passion to fulfillment in my life. I could see passion in her life and at one point in my high school years I felt I would never find my passion/drive but I kept searching because she saw a passion in me. Looking back she, that little sprite of a woman, is the number one reason I am who I am today. Yes, I had many other influences including my parents and other family members, other teachers but Sister Regina stands out among all the others.