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From the pages of book into my life.

Title – From the pages of book into my life.

By – Ramnon Sandoval

I had been reading Piers Anthony’s tales of the magical land of Xanth for years and knew his characterizations as well as I knew my own children so when he introduced a new character with qualities unlike any he had ever written about previously, she stood out on the page as clearly as if I had taken a highlighter to the page. The quality of the story changed and deepened beyond fantasy to curiosity as I began anxiously reading through to the end of the novel for an explanation. I found it in the author’s note.

In the author’s note Piers Anthony described a little girl who had been run down by a drunken driver and dragged nearly 100 feet across and down the street under his vehicle. He didn’t even know he had hit anyone, and stopped only because her body was acting like a brake under the car. (He stopped to see what was under the car.)

My first thought was that I had to write to this little girl and tell her I was praying for her, but then I realized she would be receiving hundreds if not thousands of letters from people she didn’t know and mine would probably not make a difference. This combination of sadness upon reading of her tragic accident and the frustrating debate within myself about writing brought me to tears. For a moment all I could do was cry and ask the Lord to let me become a difference in her life, somehow.

Years later, at my first teaching assignment as an art teacher in a Middle School, I was asked if I would accept a new student who was severely handicapped; an odd request in that new teachers were rarely given such deference in student assignments.

Any concerns I had over issues of acceptance or rejection by other students quickly vanished. There were times while teaching that I would hear laughter and turn to see students sitting on desks around her
wheel chair as her computerized voice cracked a joke (usually about me). So it was that she became a part of the body of the class, a classmate, a friend, and an exceptional student.

Though she had little control over her hands (while drawing) there was a quality to her artwork that was the essence of whatever was in the image. When she created a pencil sketch of a young couple dancing I knew immediately that it was her and her boyfriend. The way they touched each other, looked at each other, and the tender closeness of their bodies showed an intimate involvement in the creation of the drawing that was absent in the drawings of the other students.

The last day of school was a sad time for many of us. I was not being rehired at that school (another art teacher with seniority wanted the job), the year was over and friends at school were being separated across town, and the new character from Xanth was being wheeled out of my room back into the pages of a book.

The Lord had answered my prayer in a manner more real than the pages of a letter, and more intimately than ever I had dreamt of…

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