Courageous Love: An 8th Grade Girl
A long while back — say circa 1973 — a new student came to our school. His name was Greg. He was born without arms and wore the old-fashioned prothesis that end with metal hooks for hands and fingers. The other kids made fun of him mercilessly.
One girl didn’t stand for the meanness and befriended Greg, speaking with him at lunchtime. Their classes didn’t cross because Greg was placed in special ed, only because of his physical disability. It couldn’t be said they were friends; they were acquaintances with a cordial relationship.
Greg often took papers back and forth from the school office; one day while he was doing so, he dropped the paper in the school corridor. The girl happened to be going to class and saw a big ring of kids in the hall, sort of like the kind that forms when there were fistfights. Nobody was fighting, however. They were watching and making fun of him. He couldn’t slip his hook under the paper to grab it and had resorted to kneeling on the floor and trying to pick it up with his teeth.
The girl was outraged. Pushing through the students, she picked up the paper and gave it to Greg to catcalls and disgusted groans. As I remember, pushing through the crowd dumped a lot of adrenaline for her and I think her face turned red. But she was glad for what she had done, no matter the social consequences. Some comments were made to her in the hallways during the day, the results of her being a spoilsport.
The girl was me. I don’t submit my story for any congratulations or honor. I share it because it came to mind when I was preparing for a children’s chat in church called “Brave Love.” I sat with it for a bit and had a “wow” moment. Had I really done that?!
Lifted up by: Pam Kennedy