Part of a project, under chapter titled "HEROINES, ANGELS AND LESSONS LEARNED"
|THE TEACHER By Annette R. S. Farrington|
The end of October, nearing my sixth birthday, once again we were moving. Similar experiences occurred throughout the first years of my life, as many as 30 times, mostly in the night. Thankfully, God brought special people into my life, watering seeds planted within me. One such individual was the first of two first grade teachers. Moving was not the worst thing in the world to happen. The key word was “again”. One place we stayed a night or two, had a porch facing the woods, with grey squirrels running through the trees. There was no furniture in the house, and only a few boxes. I remember having a sense of hopefulness, wanting this to be our forever home.
There were rules in my family. One of the biggest was “keep your mouth shut.” That day it was more than I can do. I tried hard. Hiding my feelings has never been a strength. Apparently the teacher saw my distress, causing her reach out. When she asked, “What’s wrong?” I fell to tears. Out came the story of our pending move, the secret. Fright filled me, I had told. What would my parents do? If dad found out…. I knew what would happen, a belt whipping.
The teacher promised not tell my parents I shared, as she called my mother for permission to take me somewhere after school. Although I had not share why I was afraid, I suspect she knew. Abuse and neglect were not reported as they are now. Even if mandated by law, I’m not sure it would have done any good. We would have been long gone before anyone could find us. My anxiety extremely high, I found myself worrying that whole afternoon my parents would find out. Did she know my birthday was within a few days? Was that the excuse she used? I never knew, but she kept me safe.
The store we entered appeared dimly lit, with very tall shelves. She had me looking at toys. Encouraging me to choose one, my anxiety increased. My final selection was a Bullwinkle toy with eyes, mouth, hat, and tie that could be changed. Sometimes as I think about this memory I wonder about the significance of what I choose. What did it say about me? Did it help me express my feelings? Was it about the change I wanted in life? Was it comforting to me? I remember my fear.
The teacher paid for the toy and brought me home. Did she think about me after that day? How long I had the toy and where did it ended up? Most likely left behind during one of our many moves. We weren't allowed to take much. If only this teacher could have known how she touched my life at day. I honor her by letting sharing with others how things that may seem insignificant to them, may make a major impact on the life of another, positive or negative. The teacher watered the mustard seed of faith God had planted those few years before, helping it grow a bit more.
That day I learned I am worth caring about, a seed that helped me not only to find God’s love, but also feel it, later in my life.