He was a scrappy little guy. Hair disheveled, quick with his fists, faster with that mouth of his. Teachers branded him grades before he ran into my class. I always hated those heads-ups. Give the kid a fighting chance.
So I practiced a little rebellion of my own with cards in his desk, over the top soccer game cheering, prayer, and dreaded gerbil care. For the record, our class gerbils (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) never died while in his care. That doesn’t say much for me.
I want to tell you that he changed throughout the course of that year, because that would make for a good story. But he didn’t all that much. He still used those fists of his and that tongue. And he also threw in some gasoline with lighter fluid for good measure. You should have seen his eyes that night in the burn unit. Seared with pain, they seared right through me. I couldn’t fight the tears.
I loved that little kid. Still do, wherever he is. It wasn’t a love based on performance or merit or anything earned. He might have passed with D’s and he got in more trouble than I knew what to do with. He drove me berserk, but I loved him.
Someday we’ll meet in the cereal aisle in Wal-Mart and laugh about the snake he lost in our reading nook. I’ll hear about his dreams for the future and we’ll remember his grandma with great love. I always told her that God would do great things in his life. I look forward to that day.
Maybe it was crazy to champion one child so much, but I don’t think so. If we ever lose sight of what God can do for one person, we lose sight of everything. And the truth is, I saw myself in my student’s fights, his tousled hair, his reckless decisions. I’ve scarred myself and others, more than anyone cares to know. I’ve scarred my Jesus.
I love that Jesus still has nail marks in His hands, cause every scar tells a story. His is incredible, though slightly absurd. I still don’t understand. There’s no act of love like it. Innocent Splendor paid my debt. His death purchased my freedom. I am alive and running today because of this incomparable love. It has made me whole.
Everyone has a story written on their hearts, spoken in the fabric of their days. Christ’s story tells my story. My story is a part of my student’s story. His story will write another’s. And the pages continue to be written, turned, and read.
I want to learn how to write a good story. To listen better, notice more, craft the words, honor the voices behind the text, point to God. There are stories to be told, but I’m at a loss for the elements.
Tonight was the first time I’ve ever heard of the She Speaks Conference in Lysa TerKeurst’s blog. In reading about it, I knew it was something that I wanted to pursue. It provides effective training for speakers, writers, and women’s ministry leaders. You’ll have to check out their website for more information. This blog post is an attempt to win the Cecil Murphy Scholarship, which would allow me to attend the Conference for free.
Winning it would mean a whole lot. And plenty more stories told.