What Was in Jeremy’s Egg?

Each time I see a plastic egg, I am reminded of this inspiring Easter story, taken from Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul. As we continue to bask in last week’s glorious Easter, may this encore story touch your heart as it does mine.

Jeremy was born with a twisted body, a slow mind, and a chronic¬† illness all his young life. Still, his parents had tried to give him as normal a life as possible and had sent him to St. Teresa’s Elementary School.

At the age of 12, Jeremy was only in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He would squirm in his seat, drool and make grunting noises. At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however, Jeremy irritated his teacher.

It wasn’t fair to keep Jeremy in Doris Miller’s class. She had 18 other youngsters to teach, and Jeremy was a distraction. Furthermore, he would never learn to read and write. Why waste any more time trying? Doris sat for a long time, staring at the snow outside the window. Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul.¬† As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. “Oh God,” she said aloud, “Please help me to be more patient with Jeremy.”

From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy’s noises and his blank stares. Then one day he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him. “I love you, Miss Miller,” he exclaimed, loud enough for the whole class to hear. The other students snickered, and Doris’s face turned red. She stammered, “Wh-why, that’s very nice, Jeremy. Now please take your seat.”

Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter. Doris told them the story of Jesus, and then to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg.

“Now,” she said to them, “I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Miss Miller!” the children responded enthusiastically–all except for Jeremy. He just listened intently, his eyes never left her face. He did not even make his usual noises. Doris decided to call Jeremy’s parents that night to explain the project to them.

That evening, she had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse, and prepare a vocabulary test for the next day. She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy’s parents.

The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller’s desk. After they completed their math lesson, it was time to open the eggs. In the first egg, Doris found a flower. “Oh, yes,” a flower is certainly sign of new life,” she said. “When plants peek through the ground, we know that spring is here.” A small girl in the first row waved her arms. “That’s my egg, Miss Miller,” she called out.

The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real. Doris held it up. “We all know that a caterpillar changes and grows into a beautiful butterfly. Yes, that is new life, too.” Little Judy smiled proudly and said, “Miss Miller, that one is mine!”

Next, Doris found a rock with moss on it. She explained that moss, too showed life. Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom. “My daddy helped me!” he beamed.

Then Doris opened the fourth egg. She gasped. The egg was empty! Surely it must be Jeremy’s, she thought, and, of course, he did not understand her instructions. If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents. Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and reached for another.

Suddenly Jeremy spoke up. “Miss Miller, aren’t you going to talk about my egg?”

Flustered, Doris replied, “But Jeremy–your egg is empty!”

He looked into her eyes and said softly, “Yes, but Jesus’ tomb was empty too!”

Time stopped. When she could speak again, Doris asked him, “Do you know why the tomb was empty?”

“Oh, yes!” Jeremy exclaimed. “Jesus was killed and put in there. Then His Father raised Him up!”

The recess bell rang. While the children excitedly ran out to the school yard, Doris cried. The cold inside her melted completely away.

May we continue to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and ponder it in our hearts.

Reflect:

–How would you respond if Jeremy were in your class?

–Do you demonstrate your faith like Jeremy did?

Renew:

— “…The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” –1 Samuel 16:7b

— “He called a little child and had him stand among them. And He said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'” –Matthew 18:2-4 NIV

Recharge:

–What will you do this week to show love and compassion for the Jeremy in your life?

–How will you show your faith more clearly?

Resource:

Kempel, Ida Mae, “What Was In Jeremy’s Egg?”. Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul.

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  1. What a beautiful story!! Thank you Danya!

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