When Calls the Heart(3)

By: Janette Oke

I loved children and entered the classroom with confidence and pleasure. I enjoyed my third-graders immensely.

My sister Julie was our flighty one, the adventure-seeker, the romantic. I loved her dearly, but I often despaired of her silliness. She was dainty and pretty, so she had no trouble getting plenty of male attention; but somehow it never seemed to be enough for her. I prayed daily for Julie.

Matthew! I suppose that I was the only one in the family to feel, at least very often, concern for Matthew. I could see what we all had done to him with our spoiling, and I wondered if we had gone too far. Now a teenager, he was too dear to be made to suffer because of the over-attention of a careless family. He and I often had little private times together when I tried to explain to him the responsibilities of the adult world. At first I felt that my subtle approach was beyond his understanding, but then I began to see a consciousness of the meaning of my words breaking through. He became less demanding, and began to assert himself in the proper sense, to stand independently. I nurtured hope that we hadn't ruined him after all. He was showing a strength of character that manifested itself in love and concern for others. Our Matt was going to make something of himself in spite of us.

My morning reverie was interrupted by the particularly sweet song of a robin. He seemed so happy as he perched on a limb high over my head, and my heart broke away from its review of my family to sing its own little song to accompany him.

Well, I thought when our song had ended, the restlessness does not come because I do not appreciate the benefits that God has given me, nor does it come because I do not love my family. Some of the feeling of guilt began to drain away from me. I felt much better having honestly discovered these facts.

So ... I went on, Why am I feeling restless? What is wrong with me?

Nothing is wrong, the inner me replied. As you said, you are not unappreciative nor uncaring. Yet it is true that you are restless. That does not prove that you are lacking. It is just time to move on, that's all.

To moue on? I was as incredulous as if the answer had come from a total stranger.

Certainly. What do you think brings the robin back each spring? It is not that he no longer has his nest nor his food supply. He just knows that it is time to move on.

But to move on WHERE? How?

You'll know when the time comes.

But I'm not sure that I want-


I had never even considered "moving on" before. I was very much a "home person." I wasn't even especially taken with the idea of marriage. Oh, I supposed that somewhere, someday, there would be someone, but I certainly had no intention of going out looking for him, nor had I been very impressed with any of the young men who had come looking for me. On more than one occasion I had excused myself and happily turned them over to Julie. She also seemed pleased with the arrangement; but the feelings of the young men involved, I must shamefully confess, concerned me very little.

And now I was to "move on"?

The uneasiness within me changed to a new feeling-fear. Being a practical person and knowing full well that I wasn't prepared to deal with these new attitudes at the present, I pushed them out of my mind, entered the sedate brick school building and my third-grade classroom, and deliberately set myself to concentrating on the spelling exercise for the first class of the morning. Robert Ackley was still having problems. I had tried everything that I knew to help him. What could I possibly try next?

I went through the entire day with a seriousness and intent unfamiliar even to me. Never before had I put myself so totally into my lessons, to make them interesting and understandable. At the end of the day I was exhausted, so I decided to clean the blackboards and go home. Usually I spent an hour or so in preparation for the next day's lessons, but I just didn't feel up to it this time. I hurriedly dusted off the erasers, shoved some lesson books into my bag, securely fastened the classroom door behind me, and left the three-story building.

The walk home refreshed me somewhat; I even saw the robin with whom I had sung a duet that morning! I felt more like myself as I climbed our front steps and let myself in. Mother was in the small sunroom pouring tea that Martha, our maid, had brought. She didn't even seem surprised to see me home early.

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