|photo courtesy of Mary Denman|
We may never know the impact we’ve had on others,
but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
In case you’re wondering who’s writing this blog…
I’m Beth. Not Elisabeth with an “s” (my preference) or even Elizabeth with a “z.” My parents thought my maiden name, Miesse, was too complicated for that. Despite my desire to have a longer, more formal identity, the shorter version is probably for the best, since my married name, Saadati, sure isn’t any easier to spell or say.
Although it seems impossible (how does time so quickly slide by?), 25 years ago Komron and I said yes to journeying together through life. Somehow, we ended up with the same result on the Myers Briggs Personality Test, even though my kids will tell you we’re opposite in more ways than they can list. Komron teaches, counsels, and helps homeless men battle addictions. He sincerely cares. That’s something I respect.
The two teens—Christa, 17, and Josh, 14—who inhabit my home are far from perfect (I suppose the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, pardon the cliché) yet galaxies more wonderful than mere words can describe. Both are guilty of infusing my life with a ridiculous amount of laughter and joy. Their lives are a reminder to me of God’s faithful presence, here, in the midst of life’s mess.
I live in Greenville, South Carolina, but my northern roots run deep. (Ohio’s long, cold winters, however, I have yet to miss.) Since I don’t start to warm up until temps hit 80, I relish the South's sunny days. I like to spend time with family and friends, listen to others’ stories, indulge in a Chicago-style pizza or homemade blackberry pie, and, with shameful inconsistency, lace up my Nikes for a long-distance run.
Since age 21, I’ve taught high school in American public schools, private schools, and home-school co-ops—in addition to one challenging and humbling summer overseas. I LOVE teenagers, and I like all-things English, so the combination makes a beautiful mix. When I’m not consumed with grading essays, brainstorming lessons, or tweaking curriculum, I edit to help other writers tell their stories better. And, when I’m able to disentangle myself from the clutches of procrastination, I try, with the help of a graduate-school creative-writing program and the encouragement of some faithful friends, to craft my own.
Because I believe there’s power in story. Even when it’s bittersweet—as mine now is. In 2013, my effervescent firstborn daughter, Jenna, ended her life without warning at age 14. Healing from the grief of Jenna’s absence and the trauma of one dark night may take a lifetime. But I’m not giving up. I’m choosing to fight…and share the message now engraved on my heart and mind:
Reach out to those around you.
Choose to live.
And, please, always stay.
Thank you, friend, for being here with me today.