For the past nine consecutive years and three additional years before that, I have been the "Seminary lady". I have personally taught well over 100 students and supervised the seminary program at six buildings in what is now two stakes.
I have seen the Surprise seminary program go from a small group of six students that met in a small room over a garage to a large group of over 20o. And I have seen our stake's seminary program go from two classes at one building to 12 classes in two buildings.
I worked with five high council advisors, numerous teachers and countless students.
And a week ago last Friday, it all came to an end.
I thought my heart would break.
I know the kids will all move on and be fine. And I know the seminary program in our stake is in good hands and will continue to grow and improve.
It just made me so sad to no longer be a part of it. And I couldn't help but wonder . . .
Who am I now??
Seminary truly has been such an important part of my life for so many years, I hardly know who I am without it.
But then something happened last night that made me feel better. I was attending a wedding reception for a young girl in our ward. Her older brother was in my second seminary class and her older sister was in my third. It was fun to see them and how they have progressed since high school.
Then on my way out, I saw Natalie M. Natalie was in my very first seminary class 17 years ago. She was sweet, kind and receptive, and had a strong testimony of the gospel.
About a week after class ended she came to my house and brought me a little bud vase with a single pink rose in it, along with a thank you note. I still have the vase sitting on a shelf in my bedroom and the note tucked safely in my drawer.
As Natalie saw me at the reception and hurried over to give me a hug, it occurred to me that we really never leave our experiences and those we love behind. For those who have touched our lives will always stay in our hearts, and those with whom we associate, influence who we become.
Each student, each teacher, each advisor, has added color to my life, and dimension to my character.
Each is a part of me. Each is a part of who I am and will always be.
And each has brought great . . . joy to my journey.