Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Yellow (11/12/09)
TITLE: Without Goodbyes
By Matthew Eldridge
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“Yes, Mr. E?” She answered.
“Can you come here please?”
The diminutive teen made her way to my desk and I asked her why she didn’t turn any work in for the week. She beat around the bush, with a promise to get it in. I had only been there a few days as a substitute teacher, but I already got to know the students pretty well. She was a prime example of laziness. She kept her head on her desk quite often while the others worked diligently. When she wasn’t sleeping, she was talking. Rarely did she work. She’s one of those students that you think, but never say out loud, “boy, would this class be better off without her!”
I have a confession to make! As a sub, I try to find opportunities to minister to certain students. I look for ways to share the gospel, encouraging conversations about Jesus and religion. I’ll throw in words here or there that I know Christian kids will pick up on and start the conversation. I have often asked God for specific kids to minister to or pray for during my prayer times. But I’ll be honest. There are a handful of kids who I’d rather not share with or pray for – kids who give me a hard time and disrupt the class. They don’t have respect for their classmates or me, so why would they respect God?
Nicole was one of those students, I assumed. I saw her as a nuisance. I wanted her out of my class. I would be there for three more weeks, and I thought about how much easier it would be to teach the class without her disruptions and laziness.
I’ll be honest though! During my prayer times, I felt God tugging at me, bringing her to the forefront of my mind. I didn’t want to think about her. I just wanted to spend time with Jesus!
On Friday, I approached Nicole again, and noticed that her eyes were jaundiced. She didn’t look well. I let her sleep without disruption. I felt nudged by God to talk to her after class, but I was in a hurry to get a coke out of the teacher’s lounge. I knew If I didn’t go right away, I wouldn’t have a chance to get one. It was my reward for dealing with fifth period – my largest and loudest class. I did contact the nurse via email though and told her about Nicole’s eyes before darting out and getting my coke.
Monday came and the emergency staff meeting was a bit of a shock. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The nurse tenderly shared with us that Nicole passed away Sunday morning from kidney failure. She wouldn’t be in my class any longer.
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