From the Schoolhouse
There was one empty seat.
I went ahead and marked Cheryl absent, but that was puzzling since I had just seen her outside the class door an hour earlier. It wasn’t until the block was nearly over an hour and a half later that the knock on the door came. It was an ominous sound, something like Edgar Allan Poe’s raven rapping at his chamber door. I moved methodically toward the intrusion, and after cracking the portal, the security guard groaned these words: “She’s been hiding in the girl’s bathroom.”
Not entirely grasping this verbal shorthand, I queried the guard.
“Who’s been hiding where?”
“Cheryl. She locked herself in the girl’s bathroom with Amanda!”
I paused for what seemed like an extended lunation and then waited for the other shoe to fall.
“So write her up,” she said. “That’ll teach her.” The guard marched away triumphantly leaving me stuck in a bathroom visual I couldn’t quite shake.
I talked to the girl later. She had been soothing a friend whose world had just splintered apart over some boyfriend triviality. Just hiding in the dark, chatting. Girl stuff.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized how simple the middle school mind is. When a crisis comes along, just head for the nearest escape, even if it is a bathroom stall, and take care of business (regardless of the penalty to come).
From the Pulpit
This Sunday we moved up the Aegean Road 35 miles from Ephesus to Smyrna, home of Homer. Polycarp was the pastor of this church, a saintly man who died a martyr in the year 155 A.D.
In our text (Revelation 2:8-11) we heard a whisper and promise. Do you remember? The whisper was in the phrase “…, but you are rich.” That countered the reality of poverty and tribulation that plague saints in the metropolis. And the promise was that those who labored in Smyrna would one day receive the crown of life.
So as you go through your days, listen for the whispers of hope that God gives you each day, and cling to His promises.
From the Pew
She spoke to me from the pew in an unknown syntax, the grammar a little muddled and the words clip-clopping along making music only she understood. I didn’t let her know I was lost. Her eyes were pretty, striving to tell me something that her tongue couldn’t decipher. I didn’t understand. I tried, but I couldn’t translate her attempt at language.
But I understood the rose. It was a lavender beauty with tightly spun petals that beckoned above a long stem wrapped in shiny Reynolds. She extended it arm’s length and smiled. I understood it perfectly. Suddenly I saw through the veil and knew she meant it to please me. She was just a little woman holding a rose gathered from some unknown garden hideaway. How much time had she consumed planning this surprise? How long on bended knee had she spent prodding among a thorny bush to find just the right one?
I accepted the gift and thanked her. Again she spoke in a flurry of letters–all twisted and free floating in the space between us like a little starburst without form. I didn’t understand.
But I understood the rose.
Desk photo courtesy: Greenpoint Vintage Furniture