Torre has been coming to Sunday school for probably seven months. She first came as a tag along with two other children, Markie and Jasmine, but quickly got to be a regular in her own right. She sometimes will speak up in sharing period, and knows no strangers. She speaks of a deep and abiding interest in following Jesus.
She comes from a single parent family. She lives with her dad, who loves her but doesn’t really know what to do with her. Mostly he lets her do whatever she wants as long as she can get it for herself, or he can provide it. He is THE ONLY parent among the three families whose children come to Sunday school who who is gainfully employed, and he is tho only parent who has ever provided transportation to church for a child who wanted to come. He has even attended. Once.
Beyond that “normalcy” Torre has almost no claims to any of the things that are so important to girlies who are about to turn 13. My heart often aches for her, but I am also often amazed at her resiliency, her creativity and her open, generous heart. I should add that her father has never asked for a single thing from the church. Not for food, not for heating fuel, not for clothing for Torre, not for money for electric, not for gas, not for school supplies, not for rides to appointments. Nothing. And Torre would literally give the shirt off her back if she thought someone needed it. She is kind and does not retaliate, even when girls are mean, broadcasting her bed-wetting problem to relative strangers and not including her in activities.
Saturday night, my phone rang. It was Torre. “Ms. Mary Ann, are you going to pick me up for church tomorrow?”
“Someone is coming for you, Torre. I’m just not sure who because our van is in the shop. Probably Mr. Daniel will be there.”
“Okay, that’s good. I want to come. I made something for you for your birthday!”
“You did?!?! Oh, Torre, that’s exciting!”
“Yep, I made it all by myself and it is amazing!”
“Really! That is wonderful! All by yourself?”
“Yep, all by myself!” She was so tickled with herself that she could hardly keep from telling all.
“I’ll look forward to that, Torre!” We exchanged a few other small details that involved the other kids and who was coming and then we hung up.
Sunday morning, Torre showed up at church, proudly and carefully carrying her gift across the stones in our parking lot. It was the nicest African scene, fashioned out of modeling clay, cardboard, paint and poster board. She must have worked hours and hours on it. She carefully detailed what each thing was, and told me something about what this was and why it was here, and this old lady, who has very little “crafty” in her bones was duly impressed.
This doesn’t do it justice, but maybe you can get an idea. Torre did everything herself, and I think it is really special. I told Daniel that night that I really wonder what Torre could do with a manger scene if she had some modeling clay and someone encouraging her to try her hand at it. I think I will see if she might try. I could use another Manger scene, handmade by an exceptionally fine young lady that I am proud to call my friend.