In chatting with the cafeteria manager at Columbia today, a girl’s name was brought up. Eloise (not her real name) is now in fifth grade and finds me when I’m on campus so she can get a sticker or a coloring page. When I first met Eloise, she was in second grade. The years pass quickly was how we started on this conversation.
I relayed the story of how I met Eloise, even though she was beyond the first grade classrooms where I was starting to tell stories. I had coloring pages that I handed out to all grades, and Eloise took one when I was handing them out on the playground. She somehow got two and tried to give one back to me.
“No, you keep it and give it to a friend,” I said.
“I don’t have any friends,” this little girl with all sorts of health issues replied.
My heart broke. I told her to keep it anyway and maybe she could make a new friend. I prayed all the way home that this child would make a friend.
The next week, Eloise again found me on the playground and this time she wasn’t alone but had a little girl with her.
“This is my friend, May,” she said. I gave them both coloring pages.
In telling this story to the cafeteria manager, she broke out laughing.
“That prayer sure worked. Eloise has more friends than anyone now. We have to try to keep her in her seat at lunch because she and her friends are up chatting with each other all through lunch period. They run out of time to eat.”
Oh, Lord, thank you.