Working in the Shadows of the Great Minds

The View Above my Writing Desk

A long, slow night at the desk grading Ethics essays has finally drawn to a close. I am 50% finished with this week’s load; tomorrow I should be back out in front of it. I’m not complaining; my heart is filled with unspeakable gratitude. I’m still happy to be retired from full-time high school teaching. And though the past few weeks have had their share of anxieties, I am finally feeling that I am “fitting” back into the university environment after being out four semesters.

Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth invited me back this semester to pick up an online course in the Humanities and two lecture courses on Ethics. Tonight while grading essays, I looked up occasionally at the large framed Rudolf Bultmann collage I created back in 1989, and the sculpture portrait of Democritus I purchased in Athens in 2001. In front of them are a row of first and second editions of Emerson along with first editions of Tillich, Ezra Pound, and second editions of Longfellow and John Greenleaf Whittier. Laboring in the shadows of these great minds humbles me every time I think of them. And I feel warm inside when I sense that their spirits nod their approval and understanding of what I hope to accomplish.

I only wish I could find out what kind of contributions my current students will make in the years ahead. I’m already staggered when I think of the remarkable resumes of students it’s been my pleasure to serve over the past decades. I still recall many of their “thank yous” given in years past, and tonight I was thrilled to read positive sentiments from some of my current students as they struggle to adjust their ethical compasses in light of what they are reading from the masters assigned to this course.

Time for some needed rest. Thank you for reading. I’m happy to be included in this educational enterprise.

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