A mentor and the title of teacher

Strength of Heart  (one of my first fearless paintings)
I remember this one day with vivid clearness. It was way back at the end of high school.

I had been accepted to a university and was working toward getting a small scholarship associated with my major. Part of applying required me to write a paper about why I felt I deserved this scholarship.

I finished my paper and took it to one of my teachers to help me edit it. This wasn't just any teacher. Mrs. D had an amazing gift of being able to encourage you in just perfect way in your darkest hour, spur you along just past your comfort zone when you needed it, or to simply listen and shed a few tears with you if that was what was required.

She came to a small statement I had written, "I want to help others learn..." and she said, "So you want to be a teacher."

"Oh no," I said, "I just want to, you know, help others learn."

"That IS a teacher, dear." She said in her matter of fact, Mrs. D way 
 with a short head nod at the end.

She stared at me intently with her blue eyes waiting for a reply.

I could feel that she had confidence in me, but teacher was not a title I wanted to claim. It sounded so... big and full of responsibility. So scary and intimidating. I wasn't ready for such a commitment. I didn't want to be that person out front, letting myself be seen.Yet deep down I knew what I wrote really did mean teacher. I wasn't ready to fully claim that title, but I erased the the statement and wrote teacher anyway. Maybe I would be ready to step into that roll someday.

College ended up not being my thing but I can't help but wonder if that whole process, deciding to go to college, applying for scholarships, writing that paper, and receiving that tiny bit of golden encouragement to claim the title of teacher, was all to help me now.

I am so grateful to have received such friendship, encouragement, and wise guidance from Mrs. D during those tough yet tender teenage years. She made such a difference in my life at that time and was a true mentor. I am even more thankful to still be able to call her friend. 

In looking toward following my calling to help others connect with their inner self through art, I feel fear and self doubt. Sometimes I feel like I did before I erased my vague statement and wrote teacher. I know that bit of encouragement has stayed with me all these years and the title of teacher is still gently calling me.

Little by little I am feeling more and more able to claim the title.

Helper. Connector. Guide.