Somehow she wormed her way into my heart. Maybe it was the galloping around the classroom and whinnying like a horse, her bright spirit and intensity. She belonged as much as I, the quiet and studious child. Perhaps I wanted to be more out there like Helen or maybe it was as simple as she needed a friend and Spirit nudged me in that direction.
Until the day Helen hadn't returned from recess, the teachers panicked, adult yelling ensued, then a loud squeal and, soon, an ambulance siren. Helen had run out in front of a car. Fortunately, we were all safely back in our seats and didn't witness the trauma. That would have been heart-wrenching and wounding. Helen came back in a cast as if nothing had happened and we resumed our happy classroom at the bottom of the stairs. Funny thing is, that a couple of years ago on a return trip from Wisconsin, we took our girls back to Glen Ellyn and stopped at the school. It's now a beautiful rec center and the class I shared with Helen has been transformed into an art room. How wonderfully appropriate, I thought. It and the halls seemed so much smaller than I remembered and yet, I could picture Helen right in that room, her back to the door and desk facing the wall, under the high window. I wonder where she is and what she's doing. I hope she's had a rich life. She had such energy, passion and spirit.
A few weeks ago, I pawed through a thick album of school things my mother had saved and passed on. Tucked inside was a hand-written letter from Mrs. Schwanke, my second-grade teacher. It was thanking me for an end-of-the-year gift and telling me I would do well in my new school and find another girl like Helen to befriend. My eyes welled as I read. I had not thought my relationship anything out of the ordinary, but my teacher had.
Helen taught me that it's okay to be different, be who we are because God will always take care of us and draw what and who we need close. Thank you Helen, wherever you are!
• When has Spirit nudged me into an unusual relationship, particularly as a child?
• How easily did I respond?
• Was it any easier as a child than it would be as an adult?
• How have those experiences transformed me?
• How am I richer for them?
wired, wound up
and ready to
all of the
me of Tigger
I was fixated,
to her wildness
maybe my quietness
grounded her and
was a gift
Listen to this post: