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I don’t like saying goodbyes. It is hard to know what to say; how much or how little. You don’t want to presume upon another’s emotional space. Perhaps you weren’t as meaningful in their lives as they were in yours. You are trying to capture how you feel in words, and the words are too lame to describe how you feel. I was trying to explain to one of my classes the other day not to get too caught with money as a motivating factor in one’s life; that love was what motivated me, and in my humble opinion was more meaningful. They just kind of looked me. Huh?

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But if this is going to be my last day in the classroom, and it may well be, I am going to talk about the most important thing in life. And that is love. So rather than talk about love today, in order to get the point across, I sang about it. Sometimes a song can get through when words can’t. I told them that when they were young love was often painful and full of loss and regret. Then I sang them ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen. The hurt they understood! There is a lot of hurt and rejection around love when you are young.

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Then I told them that when you are older that love can be a great comfort, especially in a stable relationship. And then I sang the ‘River is Wide,’ an old Irish ballad which has a hundred different verses. I chose ones that were most meaningful to me; ones that speak about God’s sustaining power to keep love alive. It is my conviction that without God in a relationship, that love is very hard to maintain.

The river is wide, I cannot cross, and neither have I wings to fly

We’ll build a boat that can carry two, and so we’ll cross my love and I

There is a ship, and she sails the sea; she’s loaded deep, as deep can be

But not so deep as the love I’m in; I know not if I sink or swim.

When love is young, then love is kind; just like a jewel when first it shines

Our love grows old, and yet it stands; for yet it’s held in God’s good hand

This life is like that river wide, and we don’t have us wings to fly

Our love’s a boat in which we ride, and so we’ll cross my love and I

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We also watched the class’ production of Waiting for Godot which was great fun and a project that had really helped the class to understand that they were all in a community together. Then we had some ice cream and we all took pictures. In the new term I will be back at CPU, but not in the classroom. I will take on the responsibility of the Bario Project and cover some time in Student Success. I will have no class of students to teach. And I will miss it!

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I have been in the classroom for 38 years and I couldn’t bring myself to say goodbye. I guess I am still hopeful that one day I will be back in front of the students that I love. I am so very grateful to the Lord for this privilege He has granted me for so many years. I wish my students all the very best on their exam tomorrow, and promise that I will mark, as I always do, with fairness and compassion. Thank you for your gifts and cards today. Be all you can be.

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Mr. Wise

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