I picked up the paper a couple of weeks ago, and I saw there on the sports page the pretty face of Sarah Scruggs. The writer indicated that she had saved the game; I have watched Sarah play basketball, and I love her energetic defense. I wasn’t at all surprised that her hard work had helped to pull off the win for Harlan.
I had been thinking of Sarah and the earlier days at Sunshine School for several weeks; there are lots of things lately that are causing me to be a bit reflective and to remember the past. There have been reunions, anniversaries, anticipated visits with friends from years ago, and closings and imminent openings going on around my beloved Sunshine School. It is fun to remember and reflect, and I can always see in my mind’s eye Sarah as a 4-year-old. It is unbelievable to me that she is a senior in high school now. I remember the week that she was born, and I have always seen her as a very special blessing. Sarah always shows a loving acceptance to all in her path, and I really appreciate her. I know that I am prejudiced for several reasons, one of which is that, as a pre-school student, Sarah Scruggs gave me one of the best compliments I’ve ever received. I have often thought that if I should ever write a book, I might just entitle it the words that Sarah spoke.
The day was Saturday; I was shopping at a local store, and when I looked up, I saw Sarah and her mother coming down the aisle. Her mother, Eva, always teaching, said to her, “Sarah, there’s your teacher,” encouraging her with her words to speak to me. Before anything could be said, Sarah looked directly at me and said, “She’s not the teacher, she’s the mother.” She could not possibly know how those words struck my heart, because I was struggling with the reality that I wasn’t in the classroom anymore due to the growing administrative responsibilities, and I was missing those beautiful personal relationships forged in the preschool classroom. Sarah’s words were like an ointment to my spirit at that time, showing me that I could have relationships with children even as director, and our friendship was established. There are other teens that I have known as preschoolers who are a little uncomfortable with me (and I with them) in our new “grown-up” roles and that is not anyone’s fault, but I always know where I stand with Sarah, and I like that.
Sarah and I have gone to church together all of her life; she has been a faithful acolyte during the church services and has been a delight to all those around her, full of energy and sparkle and life. She makes the younger children in our church feel so special by giving them attention and love; they rush to sit with her and like to talk with her.
Sarah and I share another common ground; she is adopted, and I have two adopted grandchildren. Sarah and her family have been a part of the anticipation, the waiting, the prayers, the joy of our babies’ arrivals; they have also shared with us the pain and sadness when the adoptions fell through a couple of times. Her own success story is a great joy to me, and I feel that I can talk with her and seek input on this subject.
When Sarah was born, I was perhaps the first person, outside the family, to know of her arrival. Eva came running into my Sunshine office to tell me of the wonderful news; she and her family were thrilled to have their new baby, and that excitement and love have never diminished in any way. It has been a joy to me to see such love.
As Sarah prepares to go to college, my prayers and best wishes go with her. We will miss her radiance in our midst, but I am certain that Sarah will continue to be an energetic and vivacious presence wherever she goes. When she walks into a room, she will bring a ray of sunshine, uplifting those around her. I am sure that she will mean much to many others just as she has meant to me.
(You can reach Pat Bryson at firstname.lastname@example.org)