When I was six, I was a bundle of energy and couldn't sort out the many thoughts that loomed in my head. After many evaluations I was labeled with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). This got me assigned to special education classes, but the school made no attempt to discover the cause. Confusion and lack of concentration made sitting in a classroom almost impossible. My classmates would antagonize me, knowing I had so much suppressed enrgy causing me to react to the least distraction.
Eventually I was placed in special education, located in another elementary school, where I could have special help with my hyperactivity. About this time my parents discovered that my allergies were from chemicals, preservatives and food colorings. Later it was discovered that my first grade math teacher (who also suffered from allergies) had her room cleaned with strong chemicals every night. It was this pungent smell that triggered many reactions in my body. But I was teased and ridiculed by other kids, called stupid because I was sitting in special classes, which continued for the several years. School officials put a lot of pressure on my parents to put me on the Ritalin, a drug for hyperactivity. My parents reluctantly did, even though my behavior at home was very different from at school.
That same year my family joined First Baptist Church of Hartford. This divine influence on Sunday afternoons began to change me. The people at the church were nice to me, which was different. I was used to kids picking on me. At First Baptist, where we were the only white family, I found "agape/love," which was missing in my life. I met many invaluable friends and learned what it is like to be the minority.
One day I was in the basement of the church where I saw a frail black woman stumbling as she walked. She must have been eighty. She was excited and I wondered why. Soon after, a spry lady returned. I understood. The young woman who was filled with the Spirit of God was laying her hands on the sick and crippled people of the congregation. They were being healed.
I walked to the pulpit and asked her to heal my hyperactivity and my allergies. She touched my forehead and I fell straight back. Embarrassed, I jumped up with all my might, but when she touched me again and I was out cold. I woke up ten minutes later with a blanket over me. My friends said I had been slain in the Spirit. Since then my life has changed.
I immediately stopped taking Ritalin. I was moved out of Special Education classes and placed in the regular classes where it was discovered that I was well ahead of most of the other students. My social worker, who knew nothing of my healing experience, called my transition into the regular classroom a miracle. Miracle? Faith? The loving persistence of my parents? You can decide. I only know that all our journeys in life have a purpose and become our driving force to improve life for ourselves and for others. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.