I really hope bad news does not come in threes. Over the last few days we've had some sad news that has personally left me quite affected. It is hard to watch friends go through something heartbreaking. Harder to know there is nothing you can do to make it better but be a voice on the other end of the phone or keyboard. The first news came last Friday, the second last night. I'm kind of afraid of what might happen next.
When this kind of thing happens, I feel a little bit guilty for being, well, me. I've got it good. But it can turn on a dime, as I've seen recently. So rather than being guilty, I'm just going to be thankful. I don't know what's around the bend. For right now, I'm one fortunate chick. So God, if you're listening, thank you for my great husband, wonderful kids, the best friends on the planet, the opportunity to do this job for a living and this beautiful piece of earth that I can call home.
Speaking of being thankful, this brings me to my latest Give Me Five post. That's when I get paid and donate 5 percent of my earnings to charity. This time it was a no brainer as I got the reminder in the mailbox a few weeks ago and it is a cause to which I am always happy to donate.
This month I'm supporting the St. Thomas University Giving Campaign - more specifically, the Fenton Burke Memorial Bursary. This award is given to an undergrad who is majoring in English and is awarded based on academic standing.
I know I was thankful for bursaries during university as it definitely helped me make ends meet. And Fenton Burke was perhaps my favourite professor of all. Even then, he was ill, but it didn't stop his passion for teaching, his caring for the students, or his dry wit.
Professor Burke opened each class the same way...with a brief summary of what we talked about last time. And then he'd say..."Comments? Questions? Observations?" It was expected. One day my best friend and I were sitting in class and we mouthed along with him, and he caught us. And laughed. I think he appreciated our cheek.
In fourth year, I went to him about attending the Atlantic English Undergrad Conference, and he put my name forward not for Creative Writing - which I considered much easier, actually - but to present a paper on Adam Bede (almost all of which I have now forgotten, lol!). He had confidence in me. It wasn't much wonder I took just about every course I could from him, and from Professor Thornton, who nurtured my creative side and put the idea of being a writer into my head all those years ago. That year I was awarded the Creative Writing Prize for English and also got a scholarship to attend a week long Writer's Conference at UNB.
St. Thomas is a small liberal arts university on the same campus as the University of New Brunswick, but the education I received there was top notch. I was not just a number filling a seat, but a student willing to learn and who was taught, not lectured to. Learning was exciting, thought provoking, and fun.
Knowing how important those years were for me, I can't think of a better cause than assisting a student with the cost of their secondary education.