Faith Hope and Love and … Cookies

January 11, 2017

When you remember the teacher from first grade who gave you cookies and milk even though you had breakfast at home; you remember how her faith on Sunday became her walk on Monday, too.
Starting school as a first grader came with towering grownups hustling little kids to the entrance except the front door was locked.
So I stood at the wall near the edge of the rising porch and at some point, I stopped breathing. The windows stretched the entire Arkansas county and wrapped around the tallest red brick building. It seemed that with each inhale the building grew taller and I got dizzier.
I felt like a tiny shrub next to the bushes and my throat closed off any good air. It was as if the sea of faces held no one I knew and fear locked itself around my heart.
Then I fell. Or I should say, I toppled to the ground behind the shrubs next to the bushes beneath the windows. I lost myself in the dust of bugs and musty air.
Sometime later, when my mom finally realized I was missing, I was found. I remember bits and pieces. Being stood up. Being ushered inside through the double doors. Getting cookies and milk.
Now my entrance (or fall) came as a great way to be first inside, and I would meet my teacher. She was a face I knew, for she taught my Sunday school class. During the year, she treated not only me to cookies but my twin sister. Her faith and love fell into my life like cookie crumbs of hope even though I can’t even remember her name.
Now to think that some 52 years later, I’d get the chance to pour kindness into a heart like a teacher from my past did for me.
I had received a text from a young man who was contemplating suicide and I spent two hours trying to find him as he was homeless and on the streets in the city.
After a few hours of texting back and forth, and circling the streets, I drove up to where he sat, right outside of an elementary school. After what felt like a dizzy drive around the entire county, my friend was safe but he was freezing and needed a place to stay.
Before the night was over, with the help of Pastor Cody, we got my friend settled into a tent at the homeless camps. We calmed him. Prayed with him. Encouraged him. It was like sharing cookies of hope in the dark, and sharing my faith brought calmness and hope to my own soul, too.
Several weeks went by and my friend would end up getting arrested, and I would visit him in jail. I discovered he had left his Bible at the camp and upon retrieving it, and being rather nosey, I flipped through the pages. Inside, a date and time were marked next to a verse, the very night I found my friend.
The verse was, “So now, faith, hope and love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love.” ~~ I Corinthians 13:13.
The margin had my name written down too, yes, my name — and I wondered how a little girl from Arkansas who used to scared of going to first grade could do anything brace with her life. With Christ amazing moments unfold and kindness shows up, even years later.
Thankfully, a special teacher invested in me and shared her faith on Monday, on each day of the week–with cookies and milk and always with love.
Investing in a life … is worth everything! And in the case of my friend, he once said, “At the church service under the bridge, no one sat with me, until you did. You played a part in saving my life.”
Even now, I wipe a tear and remember how a teacher had the three greatest things: faith, hope and love. And I remember how she showed me there’s always a reason to be kind!

More about pamkumpe@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: