by Alice Belle Garrigus
CHAPTER 2. TEACHES SCHOOL
From childhood, it had been my desire to be a teacher, and naturally I seemed to go that way. Before I had time to apply for a school I was asked to come to Thomaston, Ct., and take the grade below the High School.
At my boarding place I became acquainted with another teacher, Gertrude Wheeler by name. Like David and Jonathan our souls were knit together in love. God was in it, as our lives were to be used together in His service. She had a "born-again" experience, and I soon saw the difference between her life and mine, and began to seek the Lord very earnestly.
Feeling I should confess Christ publicly, I wrote off a verse of Scripture:
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." We were having special meetings, and I carried my verse with me each night for a week, but could not get courage to repeat it. After each service I returned under conviction till in desperation I managed to quote it the last night of the special services. Perhaps there could have been no more appropriate verse, considering God's plan for my life, of which I knew nothing at that time.
At about this period began the great conflict with inbred sin or the carnal heart. My ideals of Christian living were high, as I took the Bible for my standard. Finding I could not measure up, I often became discouraged and came to the conclusion I could not belong to Christ, though I had many times given myself to Him.
Many a day as the last bad (?) boy filed out of the school- room my head went down on my desk while tears rolled down my cheeks, and I would say: "O Lord, another day of failure; and, I did try hard to be good!" Once, thinking I was alone, I was thus bemoaning my failures when a hurried kiss was placed on my cheek, and before I had time to see who it was the boy had gone. It came as a sweet token to me from the Lord and comforted me greatly.
I had one boy, whom we will call "C", more troublesome than the rest. All efforts seemed to fail to change him, whether of kindness or severity. At last I determined to try an entirely new method. As usual he had to remain after school. When all the rest were gone I had an earnest talk with him, and then told him that instead of my punishing him he had to punish me. He began to say he could not, but I insisted he should take the ruler and give me the blows he would have received. In vain were his pleadings to be let off. I would not yield. So he took the ruler and gave me a feeble blow. I told him that would not do, and insisted he should continue. He gave me a few more blows, then throwing down the ruler, he burst into tears, saying: "I can't, I can't!" My tears were flowing too, not for pain but for sympathy with him. After a few more words, I kissed him and he left the room. It is needless to say I never had any more trouble with him.
Years passed and "C" became the manager of a large plant. My cousin, who was engaged in the same business, wished very much to be shown through certain departments not open to the public, and calling on the manager, asked that this privilege be granted him. When he gave his name, `Garrigus', the manager said: "I had a teacher by the name of `Garrigus,'ūdo you know her?" When he learned she was a relative he related the above incident and said: "That was the crisis of my life. Though it is against our rules to allow any one to go through the plant, yet for my teacher's sake I will take you through."
There will, no doubt, be many sweet surprises in that day when rewards are given out.