The first words out of her mouth that morning were - "Have you ever been in Heaven, Arcadia, Eden or Utopia?"
Shaking our heads negatively, we glanced at one another, rolled our eyes in a mock display of disbelief, as we wondered if this teacher wasn't one card short of a full deck. After all, this WAS a course in Journalism - not spacial geography, Right?
Miss Kirstein peered over her bifocals scanning the room for an affirmative nod, but seeing none, breathed a sigh of relief that no smart aleck or wise guy had put a damper on her discourse.
"Okay students", she continued, "it appears nobody has been there - yet; So, if you listen up in class, get to know your P's and Q's about proper punctuation, correct spelling and sentence structure, you could be up on Cloud Nine, walking on air or going into orbit in the very near future."
Now she had our attention!
"Believe me guys and gals, there is no greater joy than to see your 'Name In Print' as the author of an essay or article in the OP/ED section of a Newspaper, named as writer of a story in a National magazine, or columnist or poet in a Local newsletter! Talk about Euphoria and Seventh Heaven! Or to be more down your alley...try Cat's Meow or Living High on the Hog!...a more modernized version of Utopia."
We chuckled, as we swapped "thumbs up" with our friends.
"Just think!", Miss Kirstein continued without a pause; "Thousands of people will read your words and thoughts! You can persuade them, sway them, give them something to ponder; enchant or delight them; make them laugh, chuckle or have them in stitches; or even move them to tears, touch their hearts or make them forget their troubles while losing themselves in your words of wisdom or frivolity, whichever you find is your forte'.
"Hold up your pens", Miss Kirstein said to the class as she held up hers, "There's more power in this little pen than in a sword. It can move mountains, start wars, bring about peace and write history. It's Man's most powerful weapon!"
Putting her pen down on the desk, she stood up. "Okay, you future John Steinbecks, Joyce Kilmers and Stephen Kings, pick up your swords...ahh, er..I mean your pens, open your textbooks to page thirty three, and get ready to confront adverbs and adjectives, and tomorrow? Who knows? Tomorrow we might conquer the world! Swords ready? Let's go to battle!"
We opened our books with awe and anticipation.
* * *
It was years later when I first saw my name in print - and instantly I knew and FELT every adverb and adjective in the dictionary for the word JOY! ... pleasure, enjoyment, gratification, content, satisfaction, contentment, gladness, delight, bliss, happiness, pride, and ecstasy, just to name a few. I was on cloud nine, I was walking on air and in clover all at the same time and orbiting through space shouting, "Miss Kirstein, Miss Kirstein, I found Utopia!"
Like a chef that bakes a beautiful wedding cake, a doctor who performs a life saving operation, a pastor who saves a lost soul, or a farmer who harvests his crops...we all get a kick out of, luxuriate in, bask in, gloat over, get tickled pink and jump for joy when we finally accomplish our goal.
But what is Man without His Creator? He is nothing but a chunk of Georgia clay, a glob of Mississippi mud, a handfull of Desert sand, a clump of sod in the outback, or just a piece of dirt - until God sculpted him and breathed into him the breath of life.
We are nothing without God. It is God that makes us tick! Therefore, Sing Praises unto the Lord and be Joyful, for His love and mercy endureth forever.
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