New crayons

Coffee Talk
Renae Brumbaugh Green
Last Monday was my first day of kindergarten. I mean, grad school . . . but it felt like kindergarten, because I was nervous and excited and, though I didn’t actually buy a new box of crayons or a Barbie lunch box, I kind of wanted to. And it reminded me of my actual first day of kindergarten, over . . . well, never mind how long ago it was. 
But despite the decades that have passed, I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the dress I wore: plaid top, hunter green skirt, and the skirt had a big apple embroidered on it, because . . . well, an apple for the teacher, I guess. I also had white lacey socks and black Mary Janes. 
And of course, a new lunch kit, though I don’t remember if it was Barbie. It might have been Tinkerbell, come to think of it. It had a matching thermos filled with red punch, which would inevitably form a red clown mustache, but it was okay. I was too young to care about a clown mustache, and it made my friends laugh, which somehow launched my social standing to rock star status. 
I collected not one, but two boyfriends on that first day: Ray Campbell and Casey Allen. They were fine with being the dynamic duo for about a week or so, but eventually I had to choose. 
Ray won. But it really wasn’t a fair contest, because Ray and I had been friends for ages before kindergarten. At least two years. Sometimes I’d go to Ray’s house for a playdate, and he’d let me play with his Hotwheels. So you see, Casey never really stood a chance. 
My teacher was Mrs. Eddington, and she was tall and slim and dark-skinned and beautiful, and I adored her. Or at least, I started out that first day adoring her, until she took my crayons away. 
My first-day-of-school supply list included a tub of Elmer’s paste (the kind that smelled so good, there was always some kid who ate it), manila paper, safety scissors, and a box of eight crayons—the big, fat kind that were flat on one side. I didn’t really care about all the other stuff, but the crayons? I was pretty pumped about those new crayons, and I couldn’t wait to use them. But before I could even open the box, Mrs. Eddington collected all our supplies. She had these big coffee cans wrapped in construction paper – yellow, green, red, blue, brown black, orange, and I can’t remember what other color comes in the eight-pack. But during naptime, she opened all our boxes and put all the yellows in the yellow can, the greens in the green can, and so forth. 
And I was mad. 
I didn’t say anything to her, but I remember fighting tears the rest of the day. I mean, the woman took my crayons. Took them. And mixed them up with everybody else’s crayons. And not everybody had the big fat kind that were flat on one side. A bunch of kids just brought the regular, skinny round kind, and now they’d probably use my cool crayons and I’d be stuck with their regular ones, and where is the justice in that?
Somehow, I made it through the day. Made it to the covered area where we all waited for our moms to pick us up. Made it while I watched our white Plymouth inch through the line, until it finally, finally pulled in front of the curb where I could meet her. She leaned over, opened the passenger door, and greeted me with a big smile. “How was your d—“
I lunged at her. I couldn’t hold the tears back any more. The whole story came pouring out, about that terrible mean teacher who took my crayons. 
Mom held me in her arms until the car behind her honked, and then she buckled me in and steered out of the parking lot and away from that den of iniquity called kindergarten. 
And then she did the best thing ever. She drove me to McDonald’s, where Ronald himself just happened to be visiting and passing out balloons. And then she drove me to the grocery store and bought me another box of crayons. All mine. To keep at home. 
At some point, I forgave Mrs. Eddington. I must have, because in every other memory I have, I adored her. But I’ll never forget that day, or how my mom was my hero, or how she made everything better with her hug. 
That story paints a picture in my mind of how God loves us. Sometimes, life takes our crayons away, and it’s not fair. But He’s always there to wrap us in His love. And despite what the world takes, God always has something even better planned for our lives. He replaces. He restores. And He makes everything new. 
“And he who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new,’” Revelation 21:5.

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