I graduated from college in December (several years ago). It was not an ideal time to graduate with a teaching degree. To complicate matters, I graduated from a school in Kentucky but was ready to live in Arkansas again. And since my family had moved at that point, I didn't even have good "social ties" to rely on. I ended up working in a daycare in my parents' town for a semester. Then the job search began again.
I ended up beginning my teaching career at a little Christian school in Stuttgart. As in Arkansas, not Germany. I hadn't heard of it before and was a little apprehensive but I was ready to begin my life as a teacher.
Stuttgart was a little bit of a culture shock. I was more of a city girl. I honestly had no idea rice grew in fields...as in on plants. I guess I had never considered where it came from; I just bought it at the store. The first time I heard the "cannons" (that is what they sounded like) that scared the geese away, I think I dove under a table, convinced we were being bombed.
For a young single woman who had grown up more in north Arkansas, this move was pretty big.
So why did I do it?
Well, God, of course. I really felt like He wanted me to be there. And even now, I look back and see that He had a plan when I went to Stuttgart (and then later moved over to Little Rock where I met a handsome young man, now my husband.
But the other reason? The Bormanns.
Mr. Bormann was (and still is) the pastor of the church and was a founder of the school (a small private school). He was (and probably still is) a farmer too. Mrs. Bormann was obviously his wife. She taught on and off at the school, though when I was there, she worked more in the office and in the kitchen helping with meals.
From the moment I met them, I was at ease. They made me feel right at home even though I was everywhere but. In fact, when I first moved to Stuttgart, my apartment was not quite ready. They invited me to stay at their house.
Over the next two years, I began to truly appreciate who the Bormanns were. They were steadfast in their faith. Some of the most generous people I have ever met. They had a heart for children, a heart for God. They loved and cared for their community and church. They had wisdom beyond what I could ever imagine.
I spent a lot of time with Mrs. Bormann at the school. She had such a fun sense of humor. I would often write poems on my attendance forms and sometimes would stick notes under the door for her such as "Help, I am being held captive by 10 crazy kids..." I loved making her laugh. When I left two years later for a new life in Little Rock, Mrs. Bormann gave me a scrapbook filled with my little poems and fun notes. Still makes me smile thinking about it.
After I left Stuttgart, I mainly kept in contact with the Bormanns through Christmas cards. I think I got to go back one more time, soon after I was married. Then we moved to NWA, and our communication was even more limited. They weren't really into the computer thing. :)
In the past couple of years, I have connected with one of the Bormann's daughters through Facebook. We met a time or two in Stuttgart, but she didn't live there, so we didn't spend a lot of time together. However, we have developed a friendship through blogging and Facebook; I have really enjoyed getting to know her. One thing I have really enjoyed is seeing so much of her mom in her, especially that fun sense of humor. And that sweet smile...the one that lights up the room.
I was saddened to hear this past year that Mrs. Bormann was dealing with some health issues. Oh, how I wish I had gotten to spend even just an hour with her. I wish I could have just absorbed so much of her Godly wisdom. I want to be her as I grow up!
This past weekend I learned that Mrs. Bormann passed away. I know heaven got a little sweeter with her presence. But I am sad for those of us on earth who will sorely miss her spirit. My only comfort is that one day I will see her again. I can only imagine how heavy her crown must be; it must be full of jewels for all she did in her time on earth.
I wish so much I could have attended her services today. We were in the midst of parent/teacher conferences though, and the drive was just too far with my schedule. I wasn't there in body but I know where my heart and thoughts were today.
Mrs. Bormann, thank you. I could go on and on but what it boils down to is that I was blessed to have spent the two years I did with you. I can only hope that I am a better person because of it. Though I hadn't even seen you in several years, I can feel your absence. There is a hole in my heart. I look forward to seeing you again one day!
Sending hugs to heaven,