The Big Story
So I finished my bachelor’s degree in social science education in December of 2006, and I was not prepared to begin teaching the first semester out of college. That following March I moved to Hattiesburg with some friends, and I still was not really ready to begin teaching. To be honest, the idea of being tied down to one space and one job for an entire year scared me to death. I have always liked the idea of being able to pick up and go where ever I want to. Recently, this independence has turned into a deep desire to belong somewhere and to someone. To be independent but to have a place in this world with a specific task to complete that somehow makes someone’s world a better place. I don’t think I have been looking for a home – I have one of those and a legacy that I am proud to be a part of.
Home is 332 Franklin Shows Road – my parents home and the house that is located down the hill from Mamaw and Papaw’s home and across the field from Uncle Allen and Aunt Susan’s home. And recently Uncle Herschel and Aunt Sharon have joined the crew. No matter where I move in this world, that little area of the world will always be home to me! My sisters and I, along with several of our cousins, grew up on that hill – it’s one of my favorite places filled with so many incredible stories of fun and laughter and some tears. This place is also part of my legacy – you see it is also the home place for my grandfather. Papaw was born not far from where he and my grandmother, Mamaw, settled and where he still lives today. The other part of that legacy is my Mamaw – Daisy Sharp. The matriarch of the family is one who showed all of how to love through unceasing hospitality, incessant grace, and an ever-strong but kind demeanor. She was the very epitome of a Proverbs 31 woman – right down to an unshakable faith in the Almighty God. This incredible woman loved and cherished her family, and that fact was evident in every aspect of her life. Special events such as Thanksgiving and Christmas meant that upwards of 50 people would fill the family home to enjoy a delicious meal and lots of laughter. Food is also part of this legacy as it was most often the means through which Mamaw’s love was conveyed. There is really no way of knowing just how many people sat her table or ate something from her kitchen. We recently saw Mamaw leave this world and go home, but for me, its almost as if she is still here. I see her in my mother – an incredible woman who like Mamaw is the epitome of a Proverbs 31 woman and who also shows others love through her hospitality and grace. I see Mamaw in my sister who loves her two children, husband, and family more than life itself. In my two uncles, the sons that Mamaw counted down until the very last day of her life, I see the quiet kindness and strength that comes from doing what you love and doing it well. In my other sister, Candace, I know that the unconditional love for everyone that she possesses came from the woman who loved us all with that unconditional love. Even in my father, who was her son-in-law , I see that incessant grace – which is a perfect example of Mamaw’s love. For even though my father was her son-in-law, she saw him as her son. The five men and women who make up the in-laws were never seen as such – Mamaw said she had ten children. I like to think that we can all see bits and pieces of her in each other, and I pray that one day my husband calls me the same thing that my Papaw called Mamaw – a number 10!
So here I am with an incomparable legacy and a place that will always be home searching for the place to belong, the person to belong to, and the task to complete during my sojourn. I thought I at least knew what the task to complete was; however, four years after graduating with my bachelor’s I am still without a teaching job. I know that part of this is my fault as I didn’t look much that first couple of years. However, the past two years I have really put my heart and soul into finding a job, and it will have to be an act of God, literally, for me to find a teaching job close to home now.
I have been incredibly blessed with a gift for learning and retaining information, and I believe that part of my calling is sharing this with the world. I really don’t mean for this to sound conceited, but to help you understand that this gift is one of the main reasons that I want to teach. What good is having a gift if you don’t use it for good and share it with others. Also my heart is to teach history and all the social sciences to students in a way that makes it come alive for them. I truly believe that only when you know where you come from can you truly know where you are going. Social studies is part of that – all the events in history are simply extraordinary actions of ordinary men and women reacting to extraordinary circumstances. It is incredibly inspiring to me to know that Eleanor Roosevelt was once a normal girl just like me, and Abraham Lincoln failed many times before becoming President.
I believe that God has a plan for our lives; however, if I don’t teach this year I don’t know what my plan is going to include in that area. I believe that I have found a place to belong – Laurel is home. I really love this place. No matter what city I go to, it seems that I can’t wait to come back to Laurel.
I will let you know more as I find out more on this journey!