Sunday, March 30, 2008

Charlie and the Boy

At our church gathering this morning, during the time when anyone can speak, a man named Charlie, who is very elderly and confined to a wheelchair, told the following story:

Charlie's father died when Charlie was 12. This was during the Great Depression and although Charlie's mother worked to provide for the children, they were very, very poor. After school, Charlie would go and stand in the bread line to get food for his family. If one of the kids from school spotted him in the line he would "die a thousand deaths" from shame.

Charlie grew up to become a Junior High School science teacher. All these years later, one student still sticks out in his mind. It was a boy who was also from a very poor family. He was quiet and withdrawn. Charlie could identify with how the boy felt and, as his teacher, decided to meet with the boy once a week to offer some comfort and encouragement.

During one such meeting it began to snow. Big puffy snowflakes drifted down outside the window in Charlie's office and began to cover the ground. It was almost hypnotic to watch. "I love snow.", said the boy. "Why is that?", Charlie responded. "Because", the boy answered "it makes my house as beautiful as everyone else's in the neighborhood."

Charlie and the boy sat and watched the snow fall in silence.


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