Ms. Crowder’s Eraser

My 1st grade teachers:  Ms. Cauble and Ms. Crowder


Do you ever doubt God will help you lose weight? Give me four minutes and I’ll try to change your mind.

When I was in the first grade, our class had a “handwriting station” that faced the chalkboard (yes, the chalkboard) where a handful of eager-eyed students would sit in a semi-circle of desks and copy words off the chalkboard onto our flimsy, handwriting paper with its parallel (dotted and straight) lines.  The words we copied were boring and simple but the lesson I learned about God’s grace was not.  You see, the beauty of the handwriting station wasn’t about putting pencil to paper but about the woman who stood in the middle of the station holding her eraser.

Ms. Crowder was our teacher’s assistant and I don’t remember her being a woman of many words (as a chatty kid who couldn’t keep her ideas to herself, this kind of person made a real impression on me). She was always calm and on “stand by” at the handwriting station, keeping an eye on our work so she could quickly glide over to our desks, erase our errors then go back to her position.  Her eraser was special; it was soft and plump, not tough and tiny like the ones at the top of our pencils.  When we’d raise our hands for help, she’d move toward us in her long, flowy skirts and she always smelled of good perfume, which was a bonus.  She’d take a look at our paper, rub her magic eraser over the word-in-error then use her fingers to brush off the “eraser shavings”.  Where the mistake had been, Ms. Crowder left a flawless, blank space (go ahead, cue Taylor Swift).

When Ms. Crowder did the erasing, your paper didn’t rip.  If you tried to erase your own paper,  there was a 90% chance you were going to burn a hole through your sheet – and then have to start over with a new piece of paper and the job of recopying every, single word on the board.   The brighter kids among us quickly realized it was best to let Ms. Crowder erase the errors.   She did it perfectly and we simply couldn’t.

What was the best part of all?  Ms. Crowder never criticized our mistakes.  I can’t remember her ever saying anything like, “Good grief, child, you’d think you’d learn how to write a Q by now; this is BASIC!”  She just floated over, made things new and then went back to her “perch”.

If you’re a woman who struggles with caring for your body and you’re tempted to think that God is mad and doesn’t want to help you, think again.  Ms. Crowder’s kindness and ability to clean up messes without judgement is only a shadow of what God has to offer us.  He’s holding an invitation to freedom from our past mistakes and the gutsy hope to start anew.

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth,  so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”   Psalm 103: 11-12

Steven Mast