Moments That Take Our Breath Away

I had a very special teacher in high school many year ago whose husband unexpectedly died suddenly of a heart attack. About a week after his death, she shared some of her insight with a classroom of students. As the late afternoon sunlight came streaming in through the classroom windows and the class was nearly over, she moved a few things aside on the edge of her desk and sat down there.

With a gentle look of reflection on her face, she paused and said, “Before class is over, I would like to share with all of you a thought that is unrelated to class, but which I feel is very important. Each of us is put here on earth to learn, share, love, appreciate and give of ourselves. None of us knows when this fantastic experience will end. It can be taken away at any moment. Perhaps this is the powers that be way of telling us that we must make the most out of every single day.”

Her eyes beginning to water, she went on, “So I would like you all to make me a promise. From now on, on your way to school, or on your way home, find something beautiful to notice. It doesn’t have to be something you see it could be a scent – perhaps of freshly baked bread wafting out of someone’s house, or it could be the sound of the breeze slightly rustling the leaves in the trees, or the way the morning light catches done autumn leaf as it falls gently to the ground.

Please look for these things, and cherish them. For, although it may sound trite to some, these things are the “stuff” of life. The little things we are put here on earth to enjoy. The things we often take for granted. We must make it important to notice them, for at any time…it can all be taken away.”

The class was completely quiet. We all picked up our books and filed out of the room silently. That afternoon, I noticed more things on my way home from school than I had that whole semester. Every once in a while, I think of that teacher and remember what an impression she made on all of us, and I try to appreciate all of those things that sometimes we all overlook.

Take notice of something special you see on your lunch hour today. Go barefoot. Or walk on the beach at sunset. Stop off on the way home tonight to get a double-dip ice cream cone. For as we get older, it is not the things we did that we often regret, but the things we didn’t do.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.


5 Replies to “Moments That Take Our Breath Away”

  1. Hi Everyone,
    I am a Canadian teacher who is now celebrating 13 years bone cancer free. There are only 6 documented cases like me in Canada, I had turned to country music recorded 2 CD’s, became a motivational speaker and have spoken to thousands of hearts from ages 5-84 years young! Currently I am writing my book of my incredible journey I never knew the beauty in cancer and have found everywaking moment fun, exciting and most times reflective. This year for the first time I have to teach part-time grade 2 language arts but I wanted to do something exciting with the children in respect to technology. Is there someone “out there” who would like to communicate with our class once every 2 weeks. After 27 years of teaching all grades and all areas of special ed I still find it “inspiring”. Also if anyone knows of a unique way of integrating technology into the classroom I would love to hear about it. I did have a website but it has been dismantled for a while because it needs to be updated. My mission is to encourage others and to know that cancer yes cancer can be a beautiful thing, it is definitely a journey.
    Hope to hear from someone, thanks everyone and have an awesome year in your teaching career!!

    Still Here
    Christina Doyle
    Richmond Hill Ontario Canada

  2. If you are still looking for e-pals, I would be willing to communicate. I am currently undergoing breast cancer treatment here in the middle of the U.S. in Central City, NE. I am 43 and work as the accountant for the school district here. I also coach 7th grade girls basketball and help with the school’s varsity girls basketball team. My office is in the elementary building. Let me know if you still need e-pals. Thanks and I am very glad you are cancer free, that is what I will be.

    Koleen Lesiak

  3. Hi

    This is the first time I’ve replied to anything really. However, I felt that I should this time. I too am a cancer survivor (8 years breast – diagnosed at 28 -mastectomy, reconstruction, chemo, radiation) and I too saw the good in it. Once you get through the fear of the disease you see the goodness and beauty in people. I now have two children – 3 and 21 months and am revelling in every day. As a highschool teacher I now have more compassion for my students but also higher expectations.

    For Koleen – its possible to beat! I did and don’t regret it!

    As for technology in the classroom – using video cameras, slide shows, and mini movies for students to show their learning is always great. The heritage minute format is great and the students love it. Another is designing their own websites for the subject.

    Best Regards

    Tara McArthur

  4. Hi there,

    I am not a cancer survivor but would just like you all to know how much I admire women like yourselves. You should be proud and wear it like a badge. YOU ARE SURVIVORS. From Tazz in South Africa!

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