“It’s the hardest job I will ever love!”
A love of music and of being near the water runs deep through the heart of Linda Gaskins from Burgess, VA.
Linda grew up in Memphis, TN, where she and her future husband Jeff fell in love at first site during a two-step on the dance floor. The two of them loved walking Beale Street, soaking up the sound of Memphis blues near the shore of the Mississippi River. They spent many relaxing hours boating up and down the Tennessee River with their sons, and after moving to Virginia, Linda discovered the restful sounds of the Potomac River, Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The sound of waves on a shore line and the sound of mellow music have always calmed her restless spirit.
At work, Linda has spent over thirty years educating students at all grade levels, from elementary through college, in Tennessee and Virginia. Her scope of influence has included special education, English, drama, and now adult developmental education at a community college in Warsaw, Virginia. She counts herself blessed to have been a part of the lives of so many children and adults – making a difference one student at a time. Although she has great passion for student learning, the teaching profession has often left Linda weary and feeling spent – poured out into the lives of others.
When I asked her about a time she felt incredible worth and a sense of belonging, she recalled two incidents when her graduating students thanked her for the impact she had on their lives. She deeply loves her husband and her now grown children, but she also counts these students and many others as part “her children” too. Of being a teacher she said, “It’s the hardest job I will ever love!”
Life along the water hasn’t always been easy. There are reasons why blues music resonates so deeply with Linda. Despite the wearisome hardships, she wrote down when God faithfully provided for her family; she goes back to that list and to the Bible time and again to remember God’s goodness. His faithfulness in the past gives her hope for the future.
Linda inspired me to remember that the sun always re-emerges no matter the shade of blue in the water.
piano by John Albert Thomas
artwork by Sandi Dawn