Sweat poured from my brow and my hands trembled as I reached for the door. I peered at the door wondering why the words WARNING: ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK was not plastered in bold, red letters.
I shouldn’t be this terrified, it’s not like I was going to be interrogated by the FBI or probed by alien invaders. After all this was only a First Grade Sunday School class.
Oh yes indeed, Heaven Help Us all.
“Are you Maggie McDonald,” a hoarse voice whispered.
I nodded, “Yes and you are.....”
“Ann Hall,” she said. “I’m the former first grade Sunday School.”
“Former.....as in .....,” I questioned.
“Yes,” she agreed. “I’m moving across the country, clear across the county.”
I gulped, “Do I need to ask why?”
She shook her head no.
Our short lived conversation was interrupted by a gentle voice. “Are you Maggie? The one I’ve heard so much about.”
I nodded, “Yes...but.”
“Don’t worry,” the Sunday school coordinator whispered. “Don’t believe a word Ann say’s. These children are angels and I’m sure that heaven would agree.”
Yes, I prayed. Heaven help us all.
“There are ten children,” she continued. “Including Anna and Abigail, a set of identical twins. Try and remember that children at this age always have an over active imagination.”
I inquired. “Anything else I should know?”
“No,” she smiled. “Nothing I can think of. If you need anything I’m down the hall third door on your left.”
I smiled and offered a quick prayer, “Lord give me the patience to love these children as you’ve loved them.”
Quickly I glanced down at my Sunday school class rooster: Noah J, Noah W. Jonah, Joshua, Adam, David, Anna and Abigail (the twins), Hannah, Clara, Beth and Sarah. These children’s parents sure liked their biblical names.
“Hello class,” I said. “I’m your new first grade Sunday school teacher, Miss Maggie McDonald.”
The children suddenly scattered as my voice echoed through the room.
“Did you say McDonalds,” a small boy yelled. “Yay!!! Happy Meals for everyone.”
A scatter of voices began yelling in unison. I heard splattered words of “Chicken nuggets” “French fries” “Hamburger no pickle” and of course don’t forget “toys.”
I shook my head no, “No, no Happy Meals. McDonald is my last night not your next meal. I’m sorry.”
“Aaaawwwwwwwww,” a collection of twelve disappointed cried.
“Alright class,” I suggested. “Everyone needs to take your seats, please.”
Twelve sets of sneakers squeaked across the linoleum floor and twelve sets of eyes gartered by attention.
“Today’s lesson is about Noah’s Ark,” I continued. “Does anyone want to tell me the story about Noah’s Ark?”
Two sets of hands were quickly raised.
“I’m Noah,” the young boy insisted. “I built the biggest and best Ark.”
“That’s not true,” another boy insisted. “I’m Noah and I built the coolest Ark. Besides I actually talked God.” The other Noah jeered; his tongue flopped from his mouth and an argument ensued.
That was actually only of what was to follow.
“Hi I’m Jonah,” he offered his hand. “Did I ever tell you about the time I was eaten by a shark? His name was Jaws.”
I shook my head, ““I haven’t heard this version yet.”
A small hand tugged at my skirt, “I tore down the walls of Jericho with my bare hands.”
“Well, I fought giant Amazon women,” another voice interrupted.
I pointed to my roster; these two must be Joshua and David.
I swirled my attention toward the girls and I was met with two mirror images.
“Anna and Abigail,” I insisted.
“No Abigail and Anna,” they said.
“Huh...I’m sorry,” I said. “But I don’t know who’s who.”
“Well, duh,” they suggested. “We are identical twins.”
I was starting to lose my mind and my patience. I ran down the hall as fast as my feet could carry me.
“Help, I need help,” I muttered.
The Sunday school coordinator smiled, “Problems already?”
I nodded, “Noah’s arguing with himself, Jonah’s been eaten by Jaws, David is fighting Amazon women and I’m seeing double.”
“Sounds like you’re doing fine,” she suggested. “Give it a little time.”
Imagination is certainly a child’s best friend. The first lesson I’ve learned in school, the second lesson is never mention the story of Adam and Eve.
As I left the Sunday school classroom I heard a child mention. “Miss McDonald is going to teach us about naked people next week, mom.”
I sighed, indeed heaven help us all.
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