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The Empty Egg


Jeremy was born with a twisted body and a slow mind. At the age of 12
he was still 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 just irritated his teacher.

One day she called his parents and asked them to come in for a
consultation. As the Forresters entered 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

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 had 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 and write. Why waste any more time trying?

As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. Here I am
complaining when my problems are nothing compared to that poor family,
she thought. Lord, 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, loud enough for the whole class
to hear. The other students snickered, and Doris' face turned red. She
stammered, "Wh-why that's very nice, Jeremy. N-now please take your

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

"Yes, Miss Miller," the children responded enthusiastically-all except
for Jeremy. He 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

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 arm. "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's 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 moss, too, showed life. Billy
spoke up from the back of the classroom, "My daddy helped me," he

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 said, "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 surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket, all of them

Author Unknown


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