Beyond the immense power of words and themes, a gifted book carries even more emotional weight.

Dr. Suess’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go was a gift from my fifth grade teacher; he brought it to my high school graduation. He brought this and a roll of toilet paper, signed by my fifth grade class, but that’s a whole other story.

The years are long between fifth and twelfth grades. As different as we were in some ways, my family and this teacher had a special connection that remained through all those years.

After high school, this book sat in my bookcases across states and houses, and I always considered it a symbol of someone who believed in me. This teacher was one of my first champions. Perhaps a stronger one than I ever knew.

I admit this book hasn’t been out of its decorative sleeve much in the past 20 plus years until recently when my kids found it and consequently accused me of hiding a “kids book” in my room. The nerve!

So, we enjoyed reading it several times during the next few days. And during these recent readings, I found myself somewhat reflective (being forced to consider where have I gone exactly?).

A few days after our Dr. Suess reading marathon, I learned my teacher had passed away. During the week I had been reading this story to my kids and reflecting upon it, he was in his last days of hospice.

I was planning my next journey while he was facing his.

For the rest of my life, when I look at this book, I will be thankful for this teacher and feel him believing in me.

“Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way!” – Dr. Suess