It's been 11 years since I last walked the halls of Meadowcreek High School, and it was only for 2 1/2 years that I left my footprints there. And so it absolutely astounds me when I run into one of my students! A couple of months ago, the kids and I made a trip to the post office. The lady who helped me looked very familiar, and her name tag said "Tamika." The thought occurred to me while I was at the post office, but the kids were going crazy and I just left. After I left, I mulled it over some more and was just positive it had to be Tamika Warren. But in Flowery Branch? No way. Today we were back at the PO, and Tamika helped me out again. This time I confirmed her last name.
Now Tamika wasn't one of my very fondest memories of teaching. Although I don't remember her specifically causing a problem, she was in the class that...well, suffice it to say that I am just pleased as anything that she's being supported by the government at the USPS rather than behind bars! While I'm sure a number of my former students are sporting black and white stripes, there are two I know of for sure: Melvin and Marvin Mitchell. And their situation breaks my heart.
I think of the twins Melvin and Marvin quite often ever since that newscast about five years ago. I don't often watch the local news, but I turned it on just in time to hear their names and see their mugshots flashed up on the screen. The two of them decided to rob an Ingles. That's not the worst part, though. As they were fleeing police, they were in an accident which killed the man they ran into. I often think of attempting to track them down just to send a note of encouragement or something. They were good kids. I taught their brother Michael as well, and he was a great kid too and really looked after his little brothers.
There have been several others I've run into in the last few years. I know it's cliche to say it's a small world, and I think I'd be missing the point entirely if I just wrote my "chance" meetings off to a cliche. I think every once in awhile God allows my path to cross those who are headed in the right direction as an encouragement to me that maybe I did touch a life way back then, if only briefly. And He sends me occasional reminders of those who made some bad choices so I can remember them and pray for them.