Oct. 10, 2019

EARTH ANGELS WITHOUT WINGS.

Anything is possible when you believe in yourself. I learned to believe in me--only because of some very-dedicated "outside" help.  What's remarkable is--- there are no rules or requirements or guidebooks when you challenge a life-long dream. All it takes is believing in yourself and life's endless possibilities.

AND....absolutely never under-estimate the dreams of a child. Growing up, I was sickly, prone to earaches, colds, a weak stomach, anxiety, and always described by the doctor as "frail". Yet, the Angels around me saw my potential.

 Even today, when I listen to the little voice inside--another Angel appears to connect me with another Angel and--on and on.  My Angels are impossible to forget, especially one very-dedicated Angel from my childhood named....

Ms. Mabel Moore, my fourth-grade teacher. On the last day of school, she placed my much-loved Geography Book in my hands.  I was only nine years old, yet my wise teacher realized the seriousness of My Dream.  As if anointed to be the Architect of my Fate, Ms. Moore encouraged me on that last school day to keep pursing My Dream, then issued this challenge: “Grow up-- finish school-- then go to China and travel The Great Wall. Find all the answers to all the questions I couldn’t answer; discover the many secrets hidden there by its builders. Afterward, you will be responsible for sharing your Great Wall Journey with the World.”

My teacher made it sound easy---like riding a city bus across town. Forty years later, when the complicated plans were finalized and I was just two weeks away from the first-ever journey of The Great Wall of China—I reunited with Ms. Moore.

I found her in a welfare nursing home, reduced to a wheelchair and barely able to move.  Ms. Moore responded to my voice by slowly raising her head, looking in my direction. Weak and barely-able to speak above a whisper, she said, “Oh, Sally, it’s really you. A sweet nurse read me the article about your permission to travel China’s Wall. I've never forgottten how much you loved that Wall. I’m so happy for you and I promise to be with you each step of the way.”

I hugged the fragile body, marveling at the still-vibrant mind of my long-ago teacher. Our goodbyes were touching and  teary. I promised to call her as soon as I finished my journey.

Seven months later, after completing All The Wall (the official name of my adventure), I returned to Beijing. I could hardly wait to call the nursing home  and speak with Ms. Moore. I was so excited to share the news about my Great Wall journey.

The nursing home receptionist, recognizing my voice, placed me on hold. The next voice I heard was that of the facility’s director. With deep sadness I learned Ms. Moore, my inspiring fourth-grade teacher, had “slipped away” during her sleep.  Somewhere deep inside,  I sensed the answer but  I asked when my Earth Angel--Ms. Moore--died.

Learning it was the very day I completed my Great Wall  Adventure....didn't surprise me. Like writing the happy ending to a wonderful book, I felt satisfied; at peace.  Ms. Moore didn’t need to hear about my Journey. Faithful to her promise, she’d been with me—each step of the way.

Sally Miller