Randomly ran into an old therapy client the other day.
Though 25 years had passed since he’d sat in my office tearful and broken, admitting his litany of infidelities, he introduced me to his wife I’d never met, acknowledging how much help I’d been to him way back then. “I’m a different man these days because of you.” I said “Thank God, aren’t we all?” It was a brief encounter for him, but as we parted ways, I carried it into my afternoon, remembering how genuinely contrite he’d been those few times in my office. Moreso, how–unbeknownst to him–his confessions and epiphanies in the room those days 20+ years ago had birthed for me a personal model of genuine repentance. Having used it myself more than a couple times since, I considered finding him in the crowd again to share with him the same words he’d shared with me: “I’m a different man these days because of you.”
There are moments in life when every student is a teacher, and every teacher, a student.