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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Thursday, October 8

Then the lame shall leap like a deer.
—Isaiah 35:6a

Jeff Dodson was a mystery to me. I was seven years old, and Jeff and I were second graders in Mrs. Hyde’s class. Mrs. Hyde was a wonderful, wise, compassionate teacher. Perfect for second grade.

Jeff walked with a limp and wore a leg brace. His face was disfigured and his speech was slurred because his mouth and jaw didn’t work well together. I remember my second-grade curiosity about his appearance. 

And that’s all it was. Jeff was okay; he was just a curiosity to me. The only thing about him that troubled me was the very large scar in his scalp where the hair didn’t grow. I didn’t like to look at that.

Mrs. Hyde was teaching us about stories: how to read stories; how to listen to stories; how to tell stories. We all tried to tell or write stories. But it was Jeff’s story that she raised up for us. He told about the day several years ago, when he was very small, when he ran out into the street and was hit by a taxicab.

He told about it all in great detail. He described the injuries, the surgeries, the doctors, the struggle to learn to do everything again, the parts of him that didn’t work as well anymore. He told the story in that strange flat voice of his, but Mrs. Hyde’s face showed us how important, how wonderful his story was, whether we understood that or not.

Later that day as we headed for recess, I heard one of our friends come up to Jeff in that matter-of-fact way that second graders have and say, “I didn’t know why you looked the way you do. That was pretty cool.” And Jeff nodded his head and smiled crookedly, glad to be cool. 

I think it was sometime later that week when we were choosing up sides for kickball. One of the more confident kids in our grade picked Jeff first to be on his team. Jeff rewarded him with a string of singles that made us all yell and applaud. Jeff was okay. He was pretty cool.

Unite our stories and our brokenness with the great story of your love for us all, the story of one broken on the cross, who lives gloriously forever and ever. Amen.

These Signposts were originally published on in 2005.