Eight year old Steven was mentally retarded. His
problem seemed to be
getting worse daily. The teacher began to worry that
the other students
would stop identifying with him and loving him as they
became more aware of his differences.
In April the teacher asked the class to put together
one plastic Easter
egg filled with a small object representing new life
in the Spring.
Thinking that Steven didn't understand and not wanting
to embarrass him, the teacher had all the children
place the eggs on her
desk so that she
could open them. The first egg contained a tiny wild
truely was an indication of new life. Next came a rock
and the and the
teacher assumed the rock was Steven's since rocks
don't symbolize new
life and growth. But as she opened the egg with the
rock in it a little
boy shouted out that the rock had moss on it and that
is new life. The
teacher agreed. A butterfly flew out of the next egg
and the little girl
that brought it bragged that the butterfly was hers.
The fourth egg was
empty. The teacher thought this had to be Steven's egg
passed it by and quickly moved on to the next egg. But
that the empty egg was his. Hesitating the teacher
empty." "That's right,"said Steven. "Just like Jesus'
tomb, and that
means new life for everyone."
Later that same summer, Steven's condition worsened
and he died. At the
funeral on his casket the children had placed plastic
Easter eggs among
the flowers. Some people that did not know the the
story were puzzled.
But no floral spray, no matter how beautiful, could
ever convey the
wonderful message those eggs told. An empty tomb some
two thousand years earlier gave Steven the hope of a new life.