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Michel: Life is like a fleeting breath; focus on what lasts

Some of my fondest memories are of the precious lives I was privileged to teach. This morning, I remembered one of the many times that conversations with 6-year-olds had nothing to do with reading, writing or arithmetic.

A first-grade student approached me during lunch with a rare look of concern. “Mrs. Michel, Taylor put something into my head, and I can’t get it out. She told me that all of this is just a dream. Am I really dreaming right now?”

“No, Alicia,” I replied. “This is not a dream.”

She wasn’t comforted and continued to worry.

“But what if all of this is a dream? What if we are just dreaming right now?”

“Pinch yourself. If we’re still here, it’s not a dream. If it is a dream, you will wake up in your bed.”

“But I can’t get it out of my head that this is all a dream,” she said.

If Taylor is that convincing, I’m going to let her teach math, I thought.

Had Alicia had been a little older, I would have said, “No, Alicia, this life is not a dream, but according to Psalm 39:5, life is a vapor, or a breath. On a cold day, you can see your breath, but it only lasts for a moment. In comparison to eternity, your life is like that breath.”

Considering our brief lifespan, let’s focus more on what will last and less on trivial arguments, or amassing material possessions for people to fight over. It’s the lives we touch, the memories we create, and the legacy we leave that will continue to live on.

Ronny Michel may be reached at rmichel@rtconline.com.