Thursday, May 14, 2009

Second Chances

Saturday night on the 2nd was when it happened. Jim Carr got a second chance.
When you teach, and when you teach young people at a small community college, it can be draining. If you're lucky you get a student like Jim Carr. I have a few every semester that stand out. They are the students who are there early. They stay late, they love what they do and it shows. These are the students I teach for. These people are worth the low pay, the extra time, the silly paperwork and paralyzing bureaucratic spider web. Jim made Metals class interesting for me too. As the instructor you perform the same demos over and over. Things can become rote, but not when you walk in and there's a three foot long plank of koa one day and Jim's carving a piece of it to make his belt buckle project mixed media. Or you walk in and Jim's splitting a 50mm shell casing and transforming it into a bracelet. Oh, there were others this semester who've helped make teaching meaningful for me, but I mention Jim because the Universe intervened.
I have pestered Jim to pursue a career that involves his talent in some way. It appears others have as well. It's that evident. Jim shrugs, grins his distinctive grin and mutters some non challant response. May 2nd may have changed all that. It's too soon to tell. Jim was hit by a car on a busy road late at night as a pedestrian. Jim would not have seen May 3rd if not for miracles. I went yesterday to the ICU to visit him. He's off a ventilator, patched together and awake. It was such a pleasure to meet his family and see their joy over his small box of metals projects. I barely know Jim. He's a quiet reserved young man in my class, yet no matter how he keeps to himself, his personality and his mind seep out of small cracks in the veneer and shine through his artwork. They are a special breed of folk his family. I should have known.
As I drive home, I muse at how we humans touch each other in so many subtle ways. Like trees in a forest, the tips of our branches lightly touch. Our leaves mingle sometimes only for an instant, only when the breeze blows. Then other times winds howl and the branches become entangled or even more still, we affect one another so that our lives become entangled and our trunks intertwine. Those are the trees that speak out as the breeze sways them. So my students subtly change me in ways I can't readily see. Jim especially this semester. I pray for his full recovery. It will be rewarding to see a hammer in his hand again soon. And I thank God for my own hands and health. I will never forget Jim's father's hand on his son's arm, his fingers seeking between the tubes and tape his son's skin. It is fleeting this journey through the veil. Thank heaven Jim gets his second chance.

Jim and a lighter he made out of a shell casing in my class. He took apart a zippo to replicate the parts in brass.

1 comment:

di from di-did-it said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderfully articulated story to remind us all how short & precious life is.

Wishing Jim a speedy recovery!