origin of hope

The origin of Hope

Published originally 2/22/09

Some years ago, I was overcome by a sense of hopelessness after volunteering in a fourth grade class at my children’s school. (In the story below, I've changed the kids’ names and details for their own sakes.) That day, I wrote about my experience. This week, I found myself discouraged again for the children who make up the “least of these” in our school system. I remembered this long ago day and the lesson I learned and was relieved to recall that I am not the creator of hope, only a servant of the One who is.

The story from way back when. . .

“What’s this?” I asked the teacher, spying Chris folded under his desk.

"I’ve called the counselor, but who could blame the kid. He's been here since 7:00," his teacher told me in confidence, knowing that I knew the situation as well as she did.

“What? The school doesn’t even officially open until 7:30.”

"That's when they dropped him off." Chris was staying in a group home at the time, his dad having once again proven his ineffectiveness as a parent.

My heart aching for Chris, I turned to the other student I'd come to tutor. "She's wearing makeup!" I said, astonished that this nine-year-old child was dabbling in teenage foolishness already.

"I know," the teacher remarked, "We aren't allowed to use any cleansers near their eyes. She's been like that since Monday." It was Friday.

I took Polly by the hand and led her downstairs, where, amidst protests, I helped her wash her face. "I am a volunteer," I told shocked staffers. "Fire me!"

Back in the classroom, we worked on her multiplication tables. She was getting pretty good at ones and twos and we were moving on to threes. She’d be in fifth grade in months and could not possibly be prepared. But that was not the worst of it. Polly and her brother lived in squalor with their single-parent mother who worked, but changed boyfriends with alarming frequency. The child’s self-esteem was pathetic, what with her poor academics and her questionable home environment.

Desperate, both of them: Chris, with his father, an unemployed, abusive alcoholic; Polly with her pitiful academic skills and horrendous home-life. I left the school wringing my hands and wondering how my tiny handful of flour could be leavened in such a cold, discouraging atmosphere. I felt overwhelmed, under-equipped, and depressed. I saw no way around the mounting barriers these kids faced. It took me longer than I'd like to admit to realize that it truly was not humanly possible to bring hope to this hopeless situation. But, since God had put on flesh in Christ Jesus, hope was within reach.

Broken, lonely, heartbroken. Jesus.
Precious, loving, heart-healing. Jesus.

I can't get Chris a new daddy, but because of Christ, I can reach out and lift up. I can't give Polly grade-level understanding and a morally sound home-life, but I can love her as Christ Jesus loves me, wholeheartedly and unreservedly.

Jesus.
Hope.

About the Author Aileen Lawrimore

Aileen Mitchell Lawrimore is a mother x 3, wife x 28 (years not men), minister, speaker, writer, retreat leader, and lover of beagles and books. She has a lot to say.

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4 comments
Lois Jones says October 10, 2016

There are days that the job feels overwhelming and I feel totally unprepared. When I take the time to say a prayer for guidance I always seem to be shortly reminded why I continue to try for almost forty-six years now. Teaching is my calling and the education of children worth the sacrifice. When I can no longer be a part of the solution a big hole will be there. What a walk this journey has been. Thank God for trusting me. Thank you Aileen for so beautifully putting the complexities in perspective.

Reply
    Aileen Lawrimore says October 10, 2016

    Thank you Mrs. Jones, for giving our kids your heart! You are a blessing!

    Reply
Anonymous says October 12, 2016

Loved this post....you have and are making a difference! never forget that!.
love you much, mother.

Reply
    Aileen Lawrimore says October 15, 2016

    I had a good teacher! Love you back Mother!

    Reply
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