A Teacher with Presence
by Rev. Tom Gray
When I entered second grade in a new school, I wondered what kind of teacher I would have. When we saw her enter, all were quiet. I would guess it took two minutes for her to make it from the door to her desk. She hobbled painfully, her body distorted by twists, angles, and odd protrusions from her severely deformed hands
As she turned to speak to us with her marked Southern accent, we were enthralled. Never before or since have I had a teacher with such presence or power. As it was a Christian school, she had a profound influence on my faith as well as education.
She commented on her condition only once—crippling arthritis. She said she could live with it because of her Lord, Jesus Christ. Never once did she complain. It made faith a real thing for me. Within weeks we no longer saw her differences. She gave us her phone number, adding that we could call anytime but should let the phone ring 10 times since that was how long it took her to get to it.
We are not defined by our illnesses, our appearance, or our circumstances. Faith creates overcomers with the Lord’s presence and promises. I was diagnosed with a different kind of severe arthritis 40 years ago. Through the years it has stiffened my body, yet when I think of Miss Sartin, I think of our Lord, His strength, and the hope we have together in Him.
She truly lives on in her kids’ hearts. She never married, yet “had” hundreds of kids. I’m just one of them.