She caught my eyes one morning on Bus #28--bright face, laughing.
The year was 2003. I loved Denver in the fall.
A few weeks later, I was teaching a small group of teens in a local prison. I noticed a girl sitting towards the back. She made it painfully clear to everyone that I was a pest, and that she did not want to be there. I tried to be kind and asked her a few questions, but that only made me all the more annoying to her.
Suddenly, it felt as though a brick landed on my head. While the stars were still spinning, I asked her, "Do you have a red Winnie the Pooh sweatshirt?" She made a face. "You take Bus #28 to school, don't you?" I blurted, again, in disbelief.
Yep. She was officially freaked out.
But so was I.
That was how I met Noel.
I enjoyed her in my classes for the next six weeks.
Happenings like this require orchestration. And God is a masterful conductor, with a great sense of humor.
A herd of wild horses stormed into my wilderness. I did not know where I was to go and they cleared a path for me. Their blank stares, their indifference, their rage towards life caused a burning in my heart.
I loved to teach -- who knew? I certainly did not. I thought I loved biology and some kind of health care profession. They forced me to listen, to pay attention, and changed my mind.
These wild horses, they have a very special part of my heart. Faces young and miserable. Some of my first conversations about pregnancy, rape, and abortion were within these prison walls -- with girls who were no longer children, but certainly not yet adults.
I came across this video recently and it reminded me of the friends who did so much for me. It struck me that the color of prison walls look similar everywhere, but these women are certainly not bound by them.