Silence, except for the squeaking of sneakers and the tapping of pencils, filled the English classroom. It was Sarah’s turn to read her speech.
Sarah – the plain Jane girl – the goody-two-shoes.
As she made her way to the front of the room to face the high schoolers, snickers and whispers murmured through the tension-packed air.
Sarah was a Christian.
I knew she hardly ever spoke to anyone and quietly minded her own business most of the time. Last time she was going to give a speech, it was going to be about the “cons” of abortion. Except the school board threatened that anyone spouting a “Biblical” view would be labeled “intolerant” and suspended. She gave her speech on railroads.
This ought to be interesting.
She cleared her throat and then made eye contact with everyone in the room. Very unusual. For her.
“Where are you going to be in a hundred years?”
Hmmm…maybe outer space. At least according to all the sci-fi I’d been watching. Especially with the new medical advances possible.
“Where were you a hundred years ago?”
Duh. Not born.
“What if you walked outside today and got hit with a car? Then, where would you be?”
Hmmm…I follow traffic rules and I don’t intend to die anytime soon. This is getting repetitive.
“What if you live forever? What would be the point?”
Everyone looked bored.
“My cousin thought he’d always have tomorrow. Tomorrow to do the important things. Tomorrow to come…to the Lord.”
I sucked in my breath, just like many of the others. We knew she was pushing the rules. And why? Besides, I knew her cousin Freddie. He was always for fun. He was a great guy. And no one could have figured on that happening.
“Freddie lived for the moment. He never thought about consequences. About what really mattered in life or about having any purpose,” she continued as if reading our thoughts. “He always figured he would have time to make better decisions later.”
How come this mumbo-jumbo talk was making me feel uncomfortable? She was breaking the rules. Someone should stand up and stop her. Why didn’t the teacher say anything?
“I want to make a difference today. I may not have tomorrow. You may not either.” She tugged at the bottom of her pink sweater in nervousness. But, then, she looked at us determinedly. “You may not like this. You may not like me. But there is Someone Who doesn’t care about all the differences like that. He cares about your future. Let me tell you why….”
I don’t know why we all listened to her that day or what possessed her to talk about Jesus. We had all heard it before. We hadn’t cared. But, somehow, this time we did. It was something about the way that she spoke – and that she spoke at all.
We found out later that she had just been diagnosed with leukemia. She decided then to act. Well, all I can say is that this time, I was glad she broke the rules – glad that she faced all of us jerks and told us what life was really about.
All thirty of us were saved that day.