I went to high school for 2 main reasons. The first was to discover my personal essence through the magic of my drama teacher, Mrs. Geri Bryan. I am discovering that a great teacher, not only has knowledge, talent and the ability to teach those things, but that she, without ever directly showing it, knows the pain of a student and fearlessly, specifically, and directly provides the path of self-discovery - even in our youthful teen years. She was a ceaseless bright light that never tired to project her vision while I followed in complete trust. She loved all of us unconditionally, gave of herself completely to we reckless and unconscious students who would have to take decades to understand and appreciate such love from a short, blessed wonder in the highest heeled shoes which she didn't need to be the Nubian goddess I saw her as. Mrs. Bryan taught me about myself.
Danny Greeban was my music teacher. Blond hair flying, never accepting anything less than perfection, our Special Chorus made it to become New Jersey State Champions. He recorded us on one of those old 78 records (or was it 33 1/3?) So long ago. Greeban, as everyone called him was one of us while never allowing himself disrespect - and of course, no one ever thought of that as a possibility. It also took me 50 years to really know how much he could love, and never let on. But what he did, this awesome magical teacher-being taught me how to play chess in the early mornings, before school began, almost every day, so I would have a nourishing environment, again to give me the space to discover my abilities. We played 40 games in a row - never giving me any slack, so that when I won the 41st, I would feel it as a true victory. But the real knowledge I received was through the music. And the music was about God. We students knew of course, the sacredness of the composers' hearts... how they composed out of the necessity to express the God they knew. So Greeban gave us that GIFT.
Most of the lyrics were understandable even for sophomoric ears and eyes. But the one that challenged me the most was "I Wrestle and Pray". By J.S. Bach. You see, Greeban knew we would need that music someday in our futures. But I couldn't figure it out at that time.
Today the music came to me, again. I wrestle and pray. No longer a mystery. I fully understand it's cry. The wrestling of the way we usually choose to live our lives can end. And no matter what name we choose to use... God is God. And there is only one way, whether it be through silence, chant, meditation, charity - it's all about God's LOVE and for that I pray.
So Mrs. Bryan taught me about me. And Greeban taught me about God. And from these masters I hold the greatest partnership in my heart.