The happiest days of your life they say are our school days, well maybe they are, yet memories soon fade and life moves on. The thing is, I really did love school! It was the greatest social occasion in my life, except they kept dragging us into lessons – and they were such a drag! But school, the place, form time, break time, lunchtime – were what I really loved the best. I had some amazing friends, Belinda, Leslie, Karen and I were inseparable in secondary school, a force to be reckoned with, well we thought we were. We would hang around together in the evenings, not really doing anything other than walking and talking. I remember once we wrote our names on the back of a street sign in felt pen, and on another occasion the police told us to get down from sitting on a high wall, but that really was as daring as it got, we were that cool!
School was much more about friendship than English, Geography, Biology and Art, especially after my art teacher failed me when she worked out that my brother had sketched the homework of that stupid pair of trainers that I just couldn’t do; so she gave me an F . That was the bad thing about school, I struggled like mad to achieve academically. I worked hard and did my best, but my best was never that good, just good enough to keep me out of the bottom set, often known as the dunces set. I was more than happy to keep out of there, and yet being somewhere in the middle often means you don’t get noticed, and I often felt overlooked.
Words were a problem. I found spelling really difficult. The spelling rules didn’t seem to make sense to me, and just when I learned “ I before E except after C” – then I would come across “ceiling” or “receipt” and I would simply despair. Stupid English language, yet another reason why I thought being French would have been a better idea all round.
Late in secondary school life I was subjected to several tests that revealed I actually had dyslexia. At last a reason why my P’s and 9’s, and d’s and b’s were always so mixed up, and why I always hesitated to write a 5 and an S. (To name just three of my common errors, there were many like this). I decided I hated words, so despite my love of poetry and children’s books I hesitated to move on to adult literture and even now fear people seeing my spelling. (Oh dear – why on earth am I writing a book?)
Easy – because I overcame my fear. Whilst at theological college as an adult I was reassessed by a educational psychologist who looked at my work and said that he found only traces of dyslexia and it was not something that was particularly noticeable to make my work stand out in any negative way. This was sweet music to my ears, because I had always struggled with words but it seems that in all my determination I had greatly improved.
This for me was a real encounter with God, to know that something I thought would mark me out for the rest of my life was now assessed as not a big issue at all. This was truly liberating. Despite the fact that my fellows students would often tease with signs that said “dyslexia rules KO”, and “Dog is good” – I knew that with God’s help I was being set free, being healed. Soon I realised it was all much more than words, it was about confidence and and self belief, about growing and breaking through the barriers I had errected for myself that said I cant do that; because with Jesus I really can!
Thank You Father, that you have made me unique. Thank you for humble beginnings and great advancements for your Kingdom sake.
Jesus – during this Lenten season – remind me again that the Word became flesh, and dwelt on all our words too!
Lord hear us – Lord graciously hear us!