Do you remember your Kindergarten teacher? I remember mine. She was special.
When I started Kindergarten I was homeless. Our small little Lutheran church also had a school where I went to K through 2nd grade before it closed. The beauty of going to school where you go to church is that the same people are there ALL WEEK LONG. That may be a lot for some folks. For me, it was heaven sent. It meant stability. It meant consistency. It meant a lot of things I wasn't getting at home.
Mrs. P was the center of that universe for my Kindergarten year. But she remained an active and key presence for many years. A few years ago, I found Mrs. P on Facebook. Now in her late 70s/ early 80s, she was still very much the same to me - sweet, strong, godly, and...intentional.
I've often said I was blessed by this little Lutheran church. It's the means God used to rescue me from the deep dark pit that was my childhood. The life lines He threw were manned by some amazing people who stewarded their own lives in such a way as to be beacons of light for me. That's an extraordinary thing really. To be such a bright light that you're able to not only see your own path, but light someone else's who needs some help.
Last week, I was going through some pictures and cleaning out my office and came across pictures of Mrs. P at my high school graduation party. I was just overwhelmed. I have been deeply impacted by this special woman in so many ways. The way that she loved me. The way that she opened her home to me and my family at Christmas time and served us oyster stew with her family and friends. The way that she raised her kids, who are all extremely generous and kind people. The way that she loved her husband and walked with him for many years. The way that she served and loved her Lord. But mostly, that she loved me. And I loved her.
Mrs. P got cancer last year. She fought hard to stay here with her kids and grandkids and her husband. Today. I got word that Mrs. P lost her battle with cancer. But, she won the big fight. I have no doubt there was a big party in heaven when she arrived. I have no doubt that her petite little body grabbed hold of her Lord and gave him a good old fashioned Lutheran hug. (Do you think there is tuna casserole in heaven???)
Mrs. P, thank you for loving me. Thank you for not treating me differently than the other kids. Thank you for always expecting the best of me. Thank you for hugging me. Thank you for inviting me into your home and life. There are a handful of people that made my childhood as normal as it could be and helped me to see that there was hope for me and a future for me. You were a beacon - a light house in very rough and stormy seas. I love you and I can't wait to see you again and hug your completely well and healthy body!.3