One Autumn Day

4 April 2019

When I signed up to teach Pre-Kindergarten Sunday school, I received a list of names of children I had known since they were infants. As my eyes scrolled down the list, my breath stopped when I came across the name of a girl, only three-years-old, fighting for her life. She had cancer.
During the first few weeks of class, I could not keep my eyes off of the empty seat and the blank row of her attendance column. She had been living in the hospital for over a month, enduring rounds of chemotherapy. I received emails, telling me she might not pull through and she was near the edge. Her family rarely came to church, but when they did, I saw the pain in their eyes.
But one autumn day, our prayers were answered. Her mother stood up with tears in her eyes. Her voice quivered as she said, “After multiple tests, the doctors could not find any sign of the cancer.” She broke down along with half of the congregation.
The next Sunday, the row had its first sticker and the chair was filled with her small, fragile body. But she would not look at me. She cried for her mother and did not partake in any of the activities I had planned. Her mother came with her to class and she could not be separated for long periods of time.
I started to focus on diverting her attention away from her mother, so she would become more independent. When we walked out of the sanctuary, I grabbed her hand and discussed the activities. I comforted her during class when the other children colored. She helped me develop the lesson plan for the following week. I knew it would take time for her to open up, but I did not anticipate the way she would break out of her shell.
One Sunday, a soft hand grabbed mine and she hugged me. She strolled right out of the sanctuary without looking once at her mother seated in the pew.
She transformed my view on life. She showed me every moment is precious. Working with her, I accomplished more than I had bargained for. And I am thankful for the opportunity because not only was I teaching that little girl, but she was also teaching me.

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