Jennifer reminded me with an Arabian proverb “ Ma Mat Men Khallaf “ ; Who has a successor shall never die.
My own perception of this proverb is having children. Children who will carry on my name and legacy. Well, Jenifer helped me to embrace another perception about this proverb.
I thought I’m not too young to miss a teacher who taught me. I just realized that I am not too old to start watching those who taught me move away from this life. It’s Autumn , they call it fall, even the young green leaves which inspired me are falling in this season, and amazingly it’s a cycle !
Last spring I took a course at the Adventure Leadership Institute in Oregon State University a class in groups dynamics. It was an experience rather than a course. Jenifer, one of the two instructors who made this experience insightful with a very ambitious and full of energy colleagues.
Fast forwarding to an earlier time last month I heard about her death. And for the first time knew her fight with cancer for the last year and half. Shocked, sad, and paralyzed I was. It was a weekday, emotionally incapable to think of anything I can do. Unless I had the thought that i would never knew her if she stopped producing, inspiring and giving as long as she could despite all the hurtles in her way. That made me think of doing something, anything. It was an open house at the crafts center, I wiped my tears and headed to the crafts center to do the job: doing something, anything. Trying this and that, I settled over the pottery section. It was my first time to work with pottery since my 2nd grade in school. That’s 16 years ago. It was a beautifully rounded pot with double layers. Similar to a fountain that has two layers to hold water. I’m not sure how useful is it, but I experienced something new, and so I liked it.
Jennifer mentored and facilitated experiential learning for many people. at her reception today, she was remembered by people from all around the nation. Remembered for her cheerful, insightful impact. And yes, I did self reflect, how would my reception be ? who would be there, what photos will be shared, why would I be remembered ?
As that day becomes closer I wonder, should forgiveness be there for those who have hurt me or for me from those I have ever hurt ? Despite what those people might think of me? shall my good deeds be accepted by god ? Was fairness always my guidebook through every single encounter in my life?
It is overwhelming to see people from different parts of the nation being connected because of one soul. They share their love, worm tears and a cheerful smile.
Jen graded my reflection journals for the group dynamics class. She was candid when I needed that, appreciative when I progress. As she was continuing to give, I said a goodbye before the last class as she was going to volunteer teaching kids in San Antonio. How determined !
That did not allow me to meet her after submitting my final paper which she read and graded. I had to reflect on my learning experience and synthesize several theories. In my paper conclusion, I preferred not to conclude over the theories themselves, rather I wanted to conclude over something else:
This experience in group dynamics helped me to look to myself and surrounding with an
enlightened and curious eye. I was observing the crowds of the battle of the bands with many active neurons charged in my brain cells, thinking about the ‘why, how, what if, what would be similar to this?’ types of questions.
My experiential learning journey itself exposed me to moral dilemmas that I never thought of. Strangely, it made me feel how weak am I to have the full awareness of everything. My realization about care and justice in moral development ignited my spirituality.
I do think about the ultimate wisdom of god that I should seek more of (it). Not by having a blind faith. Yet by having faith in two elements;
First, I do not possess the complete wisdom which I believe exists in Allah.
Second, I shall never stop the experiential learning journey of observing,experimenting, contemplating over every single existing concept, and actively building on what I have learned.
Such journey will make me closer to the complete wisdom, yet never there.
Investors usually reflect on the return over the investment, if I will measure it on the typical methodology of measuring the collective tacit knowledge of theories and experiences bounded within the coursework frame, which will indeed give me, and my scholarship sponsor, a positive return over investment value. However, I should realize that my real return over this investment is the impact of this tacit knowledge I acquired to appreciate and size my slender experience, knowledge and wisdom. It is more in realizing how this life is a huge arena full of untapped experiences, undiscovered scenes and unseen wisdom.
The real return of investment is in the realization of my own sparse wisdom that I starve to fill with my ongoing journey.
Wednesday, June 06, 2012”
Well, I did not fully realize that the investment costs of this course was just the tuition and learner effort and time. Jennifer invested her last breaths for the learning experience that I have gained.
I should thank you Jen for that investment.
I return to the first proverb and wonder, am I a successor ?
For those who were taught, inspired, mentored or touched by Jenifer: Are you a successor?
In your weakest moments do you still give or stop ?
If you are falling like a brown leave and you really know that you are not going to get back over that lovely tree of life, would you still make a beautiful landscape ? Would you continue giving ?
Will you inspire others around you ? will you serve them with a cheerful smile ?
Are you a succesor ?
I should thank you jen for letting me embrace a better perception about the Arabian proverb: Ma Mat Men Khallaf “ Who has a successor shall never die” !.
Jennifer, You have successors who will simply … carry on !
So long Jen.
Her last comments on the last journal. At this one I got a 10 ! But I still had to write something back !