By Judy Brandon: Religion columnist
I can still remember math in the third grade at Highland Elementary in Clovis when my lack of math ability was displayed before my entire third grade classmates. This is the story.
Whenever math time came during our school day, I would just cringe. Why? Because we had to do our problems on the blackboard. Our teacher would divide the board by drawing lines and that way everyone was to stand between two lines on the board. That was our work space.
When we took our places, she would announce the math problem to the entire class. Then we went to work and she watched us closely, moving around the room, to make sure that we didn’t look at our neighbor’s work. Sometimes when I was bewildered by a problem, I would try to keep a straight head and turn my eyes sidewise so I could get a little bit of help from the one next to me. But I could never pull this off in front of this teacher.
Then she checked each of my classmate’s problems. If the student had the correct answer, that student could go back to his or her seat.
I was always one of the last. Math was always hard for me and I needed extra help. Many times I was left all alone at the board, trying to figure out the math process. As the kids at the boards each took their seats, I was embarrassed because I could not figure out the problems.
But there was a silver lining to all this embarrassment. The last one (and that was usually me) got a kind of gift with being the last to finish a problem. Maybe she was worried about our self-esteem — I don’t know. But the teacher always chose the last one standing to clean off the boards. I loved that job and I became an expert blackboard and eraser cleaner during my third-grade year.
So after the math session, I would get the eraser and start to erase across the board. After it was all erased, I would get the big long eraser and wipe it down clean with the foam rubber side. Then I got to go outside and pound the erasers on the side of the brick building. Chalk dust would just fly everywhere.
I suppose my life has been a bit like that. I have thought many times that I just wish I had an eraser and could erase the bad decisions and bad behavior in my past.
But again, that is what living under grace means. Because of the cross, I gave my heart to Christ and the good news is that he is the one that makes my past clean.
As for math, God doesn’t keep track of my sins and shortcomings. He even reminds me that because of the cross I can be forgiven and my sins as far as the east is from the west.
With God it is not like I am trying to perform in front of others. He is the only one I have to answer to.
Well, I passed third-grade math — barely. Thank the Lord that his way of grading is by way of the cross.
We all have things in our lives that we are not proud of. Yet, Jesus can make us “white as snow.” That is a great assurance and who cares if my math is not that good.
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org