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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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A pain for two

God is with Terri, even in her emptiness

Her face is distorted in pain. I can see her shut eyes through her fingers as she holds her head in her hands. I'm not unaccustomed to students crying, but these aren't tears from a scraped knee or a failing grade. These tears are born out of a much deeper pain ... a pain for two.

Terri is pregnant, or has been, but I didn't know this at the time. She's 12, but her body has grown much faster than she can handle ... much faster than her heart. Terri had been absent for a few days the week before due to a "personal problem." Her mother helped her deal with her problem. Yet the pain wouldn't leave. It was a pain for two.

She exploded at me earlier in the day. In a series of pounding fists and flailing arms, Terri screamed and yelled when I asked her to pay attention to the science lesson. I sent Terri to the hall to keep from disrupting the other 16 students in my room.

But I couldn't let this outburst pass. Now I sit with Terri, trying to find a reason for her crying.


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