The power of a teacher

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This post comes from Kim Teamer. She recently wrote a post on her blog about the impact of Thin Places. Later she emailed me and shared her own story. I loved it so much, I felt it merited posting on Independence Day…

California, Cornfields, and a Classroom

It’s weird how the mind goes back to particular places or how smells trigger certain memories. And yet it happens all the time. One moment, singular in an instance, invariably connects to another, forever linking them to form a memory of great purport. Such is my story.

The land of make-believe, dreams, and perfection was where I was headed, just as soon as I crossed the massive yellow cornfields that stood in my way. Somewhere beyond the tall, golden stalks of corn lay the salvation of a seven-year old girl who lost her innocence at the hands of a known stranger.

“California, here I come!” Words I heard in a song from an old television show offered the only hope I had. If I could just get across Uncle Bob’s cornfields. Surely on the other side of his fields, the place of all my dreams would whisk me away from him – the familiar stranger. There, I could be a princess or a movie star. I could be shiny and new. It would be like nothing ever happened.

Although California never came to the young seven-year old version of myself, who grew up fast and realized that no Hollywoodland existed past Uncle Bob’s dry and now desolate cornfields, I did find a place of grace while sitting in an old desk made of wood and metal that rocked back and forth every time I leaned forward to write on my paper.  It was there, in my English class, where dear, sweet Ms. Dalton gave me a chance to speak through written word. She read my secret thoughts without judging me and gave me a place to “let my little girl grow up,” as my beloved aunt once said. She gave me permission to speak and to shout out about an injustice that stained my soul for a time.

My thin place was the place where my far past met my near past and ultimately shaped my present future. Translation: My California met my cornfield in a classroom and forever changed my view of self.

In my present reality, I still see glimpses of my thin place from so long ago, where my California meets my cornfield in that classroom. It’s a daily journey to move beyond that thin place and to venture into the purest place of grace that God has for me. Still, I remind myself that I am no longer that little girl, but now I am a woman with a voice who stands at the ready to speak. And so I must.

 

“And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.” – Luke 2:40

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