Summer 1997, Bethlehem, PA. I went up to Moravian College to work as a teaching assistant for the Center for Academic Achievement, an offshoot of the Center for Talented Youth run out of Johns Hopkins.
I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into.
I knew that I was going to be the assistant to a more seasoned teacher. The course was Public Speaking. The audience was gifted junior high school students.
The more seasoned teacher was Nathaniel Cordova, a Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland. He was known as “Nacho.”
I found out that Nacho died this past Monday. It has hit me pretty hard. Nacho had an enviable perspective on life and death, as recounted by Darrel Enck-Wanzer. He was ordained into the Order of Interbeing, and so had many variations on the theme “we are connected in death, in this endless cycle of being and becoming and hopefully transformation, always not knowing.” Although I am shaken by grief, I want to honor Nacho by dwelling on a few memories and observations in the hope that I can move my own sorrow, and perhaps others’ sorrows, into something more transformative.