Another in the fire, standing next to me

Linda Potter graduated from Concordia Teachers College – River Forest (IL) in 1972.

“There is another in the fire,/ standing next to me./ There is another in the waters,/ holding back the sea./ And should I ever need reminding/ what power set me free,/ there is a grave that holds no body,/ and now that power lives in me.”- Chris Davenport and Joel Houston, Another in the Fire

“The LORD is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed.  Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!  Be their shepherd and carry them forever.”- Psalm 28:8-9 (ESV)

With a stack of music in her arms, Linda Potter approached me in Kretzmann Hall on the Concordia-River Forest campus.  Music for her senior French horn recital taking place in two months.  But a sudden turn of events jeopardized this pinnacle moment.  For reasons lost in time, her accompanist backed out.  Hence, Linda aske me to take over that role.  I accepted without skipping a beat!

Consequently, during spring break of 1972, I commenced the most intensive practice sessions of my musical life.  As a trained accompanist, though, I understood that these sessions simply built the foundation for Linda’s success.  After classes resumed, Linda and I practiced in the choir room several times a week.  Above all, I crafted my accompaniment to maximize her interpretation and performance.  And, Linda graciously asked me to play a solo piece of my choosing.  I selected a two-minute work from Danses Gitanas (Gypsy Dances) by Joaquin Turina titled Sacro-Monte.

Facing that unexpected roadblock to her recital, Linda determined to make each day her masterpiece.  And she chose and organ-piano student most content to fly under Concordia’s musical radar.  Most significantly, the Lord brought us together at that pivotal moment in time.  Writing in Win the Day, Pastor Mark Batterson discusses what it means to make each day your masterpiece.  In the grand scheme of things, Mark observes, success = stewardship and stewardship = success.  Thus, Pastor Batterson states, success is doing the best you can with what you have where you are.  Because there’s another in the fire, standing next to you.

Furthermore, to win the day and make it into a masterpiece, you need to recognize each day as nothing short of a miracle.  As Albert Einstein once said, “There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is.”

As a result, no ordinary days exist.  For example, with each day of creation, Mark points out, God set a precedent.  Each day represented a night and day difference from the others.  Mark continues:

“Each creation day was its own one-of-a-kind, never-to-be- repeated masterpiece.  Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? . . .  Sure, we all have terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.  Of course, God is hovering over the chaos just like He was then.  He’s quite capable of making something beautiful out of even bad days.”

In conclusion, Linda transitioned from the classroom to working as a children’s librarian at the Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library in her home state of Ohio.  Almost a year after Linda’s death in October, 2002, the library rededicated their children’s story room as the Linda L. Potter Storytime Room.  Complete with large sign and plaque.  Also, Linda’s immediate family honored her legacy with their generous donation of hundreds of Linda’s books, puppets, flannel board stories, and craft supplies.

Linda’s coworker and current Head of Children’s Services at Stow, Lydia Gamble, tells me that Linda put 110% into everything she did.  Linda was wonderful with the kids and they loved her.  Almost twenty years later, children and librarians still benefit from her legacy.  Indeed, Linda taught others to see each day as a miracle, to make each day their masterpiece.  There’s another in the fire, standing next to you!

About the author

Dave Henning

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