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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Good and Bad (05/07/09)

TITLE: Too Old to Retire
By Ruth Ann Moore


The aged teacher’s steps echoed in the silent unlit halls as he slowly walked towards the class he’d taught in for decades. His dark suit, though older than his students, sat crisply atop his starched shirt. His shadow reflected on the polished floor by the glimmer of early sunlight. He enjoyed these quiet mornings. He was always in two hours before the rest of the teachers. It was not out of need for frenzied preparation; his lessons were always ready ahead of time, and at this point they were written on his heart. No, there was but one reason for him to be here, the part of his routine he would never change. Many of his peers told him he should quit, sit back and take it easy like them; leave the work to the younger folk. But, he reasoned, while he had breath, he had ability, and so he continued pouring his heart into his rambunctious students.

The classroom door gave way with its usual shudder. The room smelled of chalk dust, and restless children. Without even turning on the lights he walked to the centre of the arc of chairs, and using a seat for balance, bent his arthritic knees, until he knelt upon the floor. He folded his gnarled fingers, and smiled weakly as he envisioned the chairs filled with his students, all in their Sunday best, anxiously waiting for the class to begin.

“Lord, I come to you again,” he would start his Sunday morning ritual. He praised his Redeemer for breath and energy to teach, and for the opportunity to plant seeds in the hearts of these children.

He prayed that their hearts would be tender and filled with good ground, ready and able to accept the message of the gospel and the Lord’s instruction from His Book. He prayed that their hearts would be free of the bad soil filled with rocks and thorns, and that the devil would not steal the Word of God away. His heart broke as he pleaded for the children showing signs of indifference to the gospel, whose minds have already been seduced by the corruption of the world.

He remembered their important requests like the salvation of Nana, and the sick cousin, even the ailing pets. He brought each family before the throne of grace, and prayed the parents would be godly examples, continuing the work the Lord had wrought in their children.

He remembered his previous students; some were still in his church, most had moved away. Over the years he kept tabs on them as best he could, noting the ones that had gone in the ministry, and grieving for those, who in the rebelliousness of youth, strayed far from the Light.

His time of intersession continued until others began to enter the building, changing it from its peaceful tranquility to a low rumble of excitement and expectation. The aged teacher tried to straighten his arched back and using his cane and the chair pushed slowly to a standing position.

“Mr. Nielson?” a voice came from behind him. “Here, let me help you.”

Firm, strong hands came to the teacher’s aid, getting him to an upright position far quicker than he had been able to do in a long time. He turned to face his rescuer; from the voice and the countenance there was a tinge of familiarity.

“Mr. Nielson, I’m…”

“Wait, don’t tell me.” The old man interjected, as he paused in thought, his hand raised to the visitor. “I know you,” he smiled, “you’re Stephen Carmichael.”

“You remember me, after all these years? It must be going on twenty.”

“Twenty-two to be exact, and of course I remember you, son. I pray for you every Sunday,” then he added with a twinkle in his eye, “sometimes twice.”

“Well, praise God for that, Sir. I hope your prayers have been answered, you see I just recently turn my life back to the Lord, and plan to live the rest of it for Him.”

“The Lord be praised.” the teacher whispered, his voice choked with emotion; a fresh set of tears in his eyes.

“I’d like you to meet my daughter, Brooke Carmichael. I think she will be in your class.”

“Yes! I’m pleased to meet you. It’s not everyday I get to teach the third generation in a family!”

“You taught my…?”

The question was interrupted as the room quickly filled with rambunctious students, all vying for “Grandpa” Nielson’s time before the class began.

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This article has been read 482 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jeanne E Webster 05/14/09
Heartwarming story! I enjoyed reading this. Great encouragement for those who walked the true path.
Bryan Ridenour05/15/09
Great story and writing...Powerful reminder to pray...Well done.
Mona Purvis05/15/09
Oooh, I love this. Subtle, delicate almost. Written with the right amount of energy. Satisfying my soul.
Seema Bagai 05/15/09
Well-written. I enjoyed this story.
Jim McWhinnie 05/16/09
I was back in the class room reliving this Mr. Chips homage ...
loved ... "The room smelled of chalk dust" ...
Marilyn Schnepp 05/19/09
Searching for the Topic, I assume it was in the prayer; praying for the good students as as well as the bad. Nice beginning and ending plus a touching story of an old teacher who loves his job - makes for an interesting read. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Genia Gilbert05/19/09
I really like this. A great message about prayer!