“That Story Lady”

Angela Scott, Author – Storyteller – Ventriloquist

I Will Not Talk In Class – How A 6 Word Sentence In My 5th Grade Class Gave Me Strength As An Adult

June 23, 2007

I will not talk in class. Write this sentence 100 times; it is due tomorrow! The homework assignment punishing my entire 5th grade class angered me. The teacher’s stern words pierced my heart.

I remember thinking, “This is ridiculous to spend time after school writing a useless sentence.” I realize now why I dreaded school; today it’s called attention deficit disorder.

I spent many hours each night laboring over homework assignments. “How am I going to complete this stupid assignment in addition to my daily homework?” Internally, I protested the boondoggle assignment.

Little did I know that punishment in 5th grade would transform into a gift. After writing those 6 words 100 times, I learned how to memorize anything, although unapparent to that 5th grader.

It’s true, “The weakest ink is more enduring than the strongest memory.” I confess; today, I am thankful for that boondoggle assignment which gave me strength and a coping technique I used while waiting in the hospital.

My husband had successfully battled congestive heart failure for six years until a sudden and severe infection violently attacked his already weakened heart. After the fourth time in the hospital during a three month period, he was officially put on the heart transplant only eleven days after he was admitted.

While he fought for his life, I battled the silence and the waiting. I read magazines and newspapers. I listened and watched people. I prayed.

With the attention span of a gnat, I decided to memorize a Bible verse which had caught my eye as a car with a personalized license plate drove by. I was not familiar with the verse, “Rom. 15:13.”

I counted the number of words in the verse, Romans 15:13, thirty-one words to be exact. “Not too many words; quick to write; at least it would keep my hands busy.” I purchased a journal in the hospital gift shop and returned to the intensive care waiting room. I began writing the verse over and over again.

Imagine my surprise when the verse effortlessly spilled from my lips as I recited it to my daughter. “Mom, when did you learn that verse?” My response, “I’ve had a lot of time to wait, to think, and to write.”

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