Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Where is Mr. Dobrich?

Encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 

1 Thessalonians 5:14

I love receiving personal mail. I am quite a mail "geek". Daily I look for envelopes with handwriting that has my name inscribed across the center. I relish the moment when I know I will open the envelope and savor each word, as I allow it to saturate my parched, longing soul.

When I was in fifth grade, I had a teacher who would become my daily "Hallmark" card. His name was Michael Dobrich. He was from Yugoslavia, so his accent was "thick". And although his "t's" sounded like "v's" and he was difficult to understand at times, I completely understood the language of his heart.

Mr. Dobrich offered me more than an education. He believed in me, a scrawny, shy, and lonely little girl. Daily he served my longing soul words of kindness, greeted me, and engaged me in conversation. He convinced me to uncover my head and come out of the coat closet I had stood the entire morning in fearing what other's might say about my new hair cut. Through his persistence, he convinced me I looked okay. He drew a full size portrait of me in front of the entire class, conveying to me that I was lovely enough to portray and display. Each day, this kind man loved me for who and what I was.

Mr. Dobrich was an artist, and what he "painted" on my heart would prove to be a masterpiece. He gave me hope. Each day this kind man loved me "as is". He saw my untapped and unformed potential and convinced me I was worthy of his time. I started to believe and act in accordance to his appraisals of me.

So, where is Mr. Dobrich? He is everywhere. He shows up each time I validate the worth of another by choosing to respond in kindness versus anger. He is there when I remind someone how lovely they are, both in spirit and in form. He is there each time I coach someone to step forward and leave fear behind. Mr. Dobrich is the embodiment of one word-Encouragement.

Today, will you be someone's Mr. Dobrich? I know this is my thank you back.

Father, thank you for Mr. Dobrich. Thank you for encouragement. 

To Mr. Michael Dobrich: I do not know if you are still alive, but if you are, thank you. You made a difference. I live different because of your kind, daily encouragement. You were a good teacher and a great mentor.  

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