Why Flowers Aren't Enough

The rain expressed the emotions of the day.

Gray skies echoed the somber mood. Storm clouds providing water for future growth. Tear drops on the windshield.

A token of appreciation and a thank you card on the seat next to me. A gesture to let her know that I understood her feelings that day.

And so I brought flowers.

Knowing it wasn’t enough.

Earlier that morning I was hiking and saw a former student. “It was a wonderful good-bye celebration this morning,” she said with a smile. The last day of seminary class.

My heart sank. This wasn’t just the last day for students. This was the final day for an early morning seminary teacher who had just completed six years.

Six years of getting up at 4 a.m. Six years of loving and serving those kids. Six years of letting a job consume your life. Six years of teaching about hope.

It was time for Michelle to move on. She knows a new journey awaits. But emotions today are conflicting.

The rest of my hike was spent reflecting. My own experiences of teaching before the sun came up. Teaching a generation of kids who would become future leaders of the church and the world. Sacrificing time and sleep and energy for them. And feeling blessed for it.

There were years that we both taught in the same building. Michelle and I used to stand in the hall and review the events of the morning. Lessons learned. Seminary miracles …

From the outside it appears to be an impossible job. Teach a classroom of teenagers every day about God – and ask them to give up an hour of sleep to do so. A daunting task.

But we are not alone. We have divine help.

Hours of scripture study each day. Fervent prayers on their behalf. “What would you have me teach these youth?”

And then it comes. A free flow of thoughts and inspiration.

For them - from Him.

God loves this group of sleep-deprived teenagers. It is a privilege to be the conduit. To share His love and teach His words. It is a blessed experience. One never forgotten.

Difficult to let go. They are His children. But they become our children too.

As seminary teachers we question ourselves. “Did I do enough? Did I make a difference?”

Two years ago I stood in front of the temple and asked my daughter Ashlyn if she was ready. An important step in her life. Dedication to her belief and commitments made to God in the temple.

“Of course I’m ready,” she said. “Michelle prepared me for this.”

A seminary teacher who loved the temple and taught with testimony and conviction. And a student who noticed.

My daughter.

Ashlyn endowments.jpg

And so the rain danced on my windshield. I pondered the enormity of our influence. All teachers have an opportunity to make a difference. To soften a heart. Enlighten a young mind. Feed a growing testimony.

I wanted to acknowledge the gift Michelle was to hundreds of students. Their souls bloom because of her.

And so I brought flowers.

Knowing it wasn’t enough.

But recognizing that He knew.

And that is always enough.