So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.
1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT)
Saleeca could not walk. Saleeca could not talk. Saleeca could not sit up. Saleeca could not dress herself or feed herself. In today's language we would say that Saleeca was severely physically and mentally impaired and yet what an impact she made on my life one day.
I do not remember why I was struggling that day. Something had happened though and I was very sad and discouraged. I was working as a substitute teacher at the time and Saleeca's teacher had called the day before to ask if I could come in and fill her place that day. I had been there a number of times before. Truthfully, I was relieved I was not going to a regular classroom that day. There would be five students, all like Saleeca, and their "one-to-ones". I would be the sixth adult and my primary purpose for being there was because the state requires that a licensed teacher be present.
A good teacher sets aside their personal issues and concentrates on the task at hand. If you can't do that, then you need to stay at home until you can. It's as simple as that. So when I stepped through the doors of the school, I concentrated on the task at hand. I was to learn later though, that Saleeca was a very perceptive child. She saw my neatly packed baggage waiting by the door.
Throughout the day, Saleeca would reach out and rub my face. She was always doing that. Saleeca loved to touch the faces of people. She did it more with some than others it seemed, depending on their response. Saleeca liked to rub my face a lot. Every time I passed her, or sat by her, Saleeca would stretch out her hand toward my face. It always warmed my heart. We were friends.
That afternoon, the children were taken to the gym for therapy sessions. While they waited their turn, we removed them from their wheelchairs onto mats where they could move about if they wished. As I chatted with the other adults, we suddenly noticed something. Saleeca was inching her way across the mat in a purposeful sort of way. We wondered aloud where she was going and decided to not interrupt her in her journey. It soon became apparent that she was heading towards me.
Inch by inch, she slithered across the mat. As she drew closer to me, the adults in the room became silent. What was she going to do?
She finally reached me. Then she began to "climb" up me until her face was in close proximity to mine. She very slowly pulled my face down to her's and rubbed her cheed against mine. I wrapped my arms around her, as tears filled my eyes, overcome by the feeling of love I could sense coming from this little girl. "Oh, Saleeca! I love you too!" and in that moment all my "baggage" was swept away.
According to the standards of our society, Saleeca was pretty insignificant. She would never do the things most girls do. She would never know the joy of reading a book or writing down her thoughts on a page. She would never graduate from high school or college, would never get married and have children. In fact, in all probability she would never even reach adulthood due to her many physical problems. According to the world, she had nothing to offer society. She had no gifts or talents.
I know better. You see, on that day God used Saleeca to reach out to me and remind me that I was loved. I am glad that Saleeca was willing to put forth the time and the effort to deliver that message. Are we? Let us never forget that nothing you ever do for the Lord is useless.
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