He says, “Smell this.” I do, and it has a lovely fragrance.
He says, “Do you know what it is?” I say, “No.”
He says, “It’s a trailing arbutus. I did not know that.”
He then stares off into space and we proceed to the car to run some errands. It is in the car that he talks about his day.
My husband had to get an appraisal on his mother’s home today. As those of you who read this blog regularly know, his mother died 3 weeks ago and we are settling the estate. The real estate agent he got to do the appraisal was a woman he had had as a biology teacher when he was in high school. She now owns her own real estate company. My husband shared with me that she was the best teacher he ever had. He said, “I remember whole lectures that she gave complete with their illustrations. She was truly that good. Sometimes I don’t even remember the content of an entire course of other teachers I’ve had. As she and I walked around my mother’s woods, she saw this plant. She told me it was trailing arbutus and had me smell it. She was still teaching me biology.”
My husband’s description of this teacher made me think of Jesus. Here we are after the resurrection and Jesus is showing up here and there, showing Himself to those He is preparing to leave. He has 40 days until His resurrection. What is He saying? What are those final instructions? What intimacies is He sharing by lakeside fires after fishing? What gems are flowing from His mouth as they walk with Him “on the way”? What places does He visit? Who does He visit? Does He go to his childhood home one last time? We “get a taste” of a few interchanges, but certainly not 40 days’ worth. Enough, I think, though, to know He was a good teacher. I’m sure that whomever He talked to they remembered what He said. When Jesus spoke “their hearts burned within them,” they’d fall to their knees in reverence exclaiming Rabboni which means teacher, they’d come running from the boat with such elation they’d forget to wrap their clothes around them, and they believed without having to touch Him.
Some remembered so well they wrote down what they remembered for us and those words stir us still today.