What Was In Jeremy's Egg?

Jeremy was born with a twisted body, a slow mind and a chronic,
terminal illness that had been slowly killing him all his young life.
Still, his parents had tried to give him as normal a life as possible and had sent him to       St. Theresa's Elementary School.
At the age of 12, Jeremy was only in second grade, seemingly unable to
learn. His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He
would squirm in his seat, drool and make grunting noises.
At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light
had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however,
Jeremy irritated his teacher. One day, she called his parents and asked them
to come to St. Teresa's for a consultation.
As the Forresters sat quietly in the empty classroom, Doris said to
them, "Jeremy really belongs in a special school. It isn't fair to him to
be with younger children who don't have learning problems. Why, there is a
five-year gap between his age and that of the other students!"
Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue while her husband spoke.
"Miss Miller," he said, "there is no school of that kind nearby. It would
be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school.
We know he really likes it here."
Doris sat for a long time after they left, staring at the snow outside the
window. Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul. She wanted to
sympathize with the Forresters. After all, their only child had a terminal
illness. But it wasn't fair to keep him in her class. She had 18 other
youngsters to teach and Jeremy was a distraction. Furthermore, he would never
learn to read or write. Why waste any more time trying?
As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. "Oh God," she said
aloud, "here I am complaining when my problems are nothing compared with that
poor family! Please help me to be more patient with Jeremy."
>From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy's noises and his blank
stares. Then one day he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him.
"I love you, Miss Miller," he exclaimed, loudly enough for the whole class
to hear. The other children snickered, and Doris' face turned red. She
stammered, "Who-Why, that's very nice, Jeremy. Now please take your seat."
Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter.
Doris told them the story of Jesus, and then to emphasize the idea of new
life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg.
"Now," she said to them "I want you to take this home and bring it back
tomorrow with something inside that shows new life. Do you understand?"
"Yes, Miss Miller!" the children responded enthusiastically - all except
for Jeremy. He just listened intently, his eyes never left her face. He did
not even make his usual noises.
Had he understood what she had said about Jesus' death and resurrection?
Did he understand the assignment? Perhaps she should call his parents and
explain the project to them.
That evening, Doris' kitchen sink stopped up. She called the landlord and
waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it. After that, she still had
to shop for groceries, iron a blouse and prepare a vocabulary test for the
next day. She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy's parents.
The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they
placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller's desk. After
they completed their Math lesson, it was time to open the eggs.
In the first egg, Doris found a flower. "Oh yes, a flower is certainly a
sign of new life," she said. "When plants peek through the ground we know
that spring is here." A small girl in the first row waved her arms.
"That's my egg, Miss Miller," she called out.
The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real. Doris
held it up. "We all know that a caterpillar changes and grows into a
beautiful butterfly. Yes that is new life, too" Little Judy smiled
proudly and said, "Miss Miller, that one is mine."
Next Doris found a rock with moss on it. She explained that the moss, too,
showed life. Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom. "My Daddy helped
me!" he beamed.
Then Doris opened the fourth egg. She gasped. The egg was empty! Surely
it must be Jeremy's, she thought, and, of course, he did not understand her
instructions. If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents. Because
she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and
reached for another.
Suddenly Jeremy spoke up. "Miss Miller, aren't you going to talk about my egg?"
Flustered, Doris replied, "but Jeremy - your egg is empty!" He looked into
her eyes and said softly, "Yes, but Jesus' tomb was empty too!"

Time stopped. When she could speak again. Doris asked him, " Do you know
why the tomb was empty?"

"Oh yes!" Jeremy exclaimed. "Jesus was killed and put in there. Then his
Father raised him up!"

The recess bell rang. While the children excitedly ran out to the school
yard, Doris cried. The cold inside her melted completely away.

Three months later Jeremy died. Those who paid their respects at the
mortuary were surpassed to see 19 eggs on top of his casket, all of them empty.

Author Ida Mae Kempel

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