“She thinks she’s something great,” Jennie murmured as she watched Annabel flashing her new bracelet and matching ring. Jennie’s three best friends, Lisa, Jo Nell and Susie stood in a close circle around Annabel making oh and ah sounds that she liked to hear.
That’s disgusting, Jennie turned and walked inside the schoolhouse. I wonder what marvelous thing she will have for them to ah over tomorrow. She felt angry and hurt because her friends had acted like jerks ever since Annabel had started to school there.
Am I jealous of her? she thought. If not, then why do I feel like this? The ring and bracelet are pretty. But why does she feel she has to be the center of attention all the time? I can’t believe my friends are acting so retarded. Involved in her thoughts, Jeannie almost walked past her schoolroom.
The rest of the day went by in a slow drag. Jennie sat with Frank and Melba at lunchtime and listened to them rattle on about the football team and the game the day before. Any other time Jennie would have joined in, but not today. Today, she was far too upset to talk about anything.
At the last recess she watched the cheerleaders practice. Lisa came over and asked what was wrong. “You’ve acted so odd the past week. Are you sick or something? You never join in with the rest of us anymore. What’s the matter?”
Jennie didn’t know what to say without sounding like she was jealous or resentful. She gave Lisa a half-hearted smile and told her not to worry, that she just had some problems to work out. Lisa smiled in a sympathetic gesture and left to join the others. “I’ll see you later.” She called over her shoulder. “I’ve got to wash my hands.” She joined the others, and Jennie sat for a while longer. Tears filled her eyes. This made her angry with herself. She got up and headed inside. She barely had enough time to fix her face before the bell rang.
The bathroom was empty. Jennie washed her eyes and reached for a towel when her eye caught a shiny object lying on a washbasin nearby. Her heart almost stopped. It was Annabel’s ring. She picked it up. Her heart raced as she held the ring in the palm of her hand. What should she do? She could stick it in her pocket and no one would know she had it. What would Annabel do then? Without the ring the bracelet would not be so wonderful. Jennie clutched the ring tightly in her fist. As she walked toward her room, her mind raced ahead. She thought about tomorrow and all the other tomorrows. She knew she could not live with herself if she kept the ring. It would be like a big weight around her heart. It had already caused her enough trouble as it was. She didn’t need any more problems with it.
She reached the schoolroom and opened the door. She was late but no one noticed. Annabel was crying and talking to Mrs. Finnmore.
“I’ve got to go look for it. It isn’t mine. I borrowed it from my mother without her knowing I took it. It goes with the bracelet and is very valuable. I’ve got to find it. Please let the girls go help me look for it.”
“Annabel, you should never take something that isn’t yours without permission.” Mrs. Finnmore’s voice held the tone of irritation. “I cannot permit the other students to miss class, but perhaps after school some of them will help you look for the ring. In the meantime–” She stopped in mid-sentence, as Jennie spoke.
“Is this what you’re talking about?” She held the ring out to Annabel. Annabel caught her breath in a sob and reached for the ring. “Oh! Yes, yes that’s it. Where did you find it? She held the ring, looking at it for a minute, then slipped it on her finger. She brushed her tears away and regained her composure.
“Thank you very much Jennie.” She turned to Mrs. Finnmore, “I’m sorry to have disturbed your class. I shall take my seat now. She walked briskly to her desk and sat down.
As Jennie sat down at her desk she noticed the attitude of the class had changed. Several students were looking at Annabel with puzzled frowns. She heard someone whisper, “The ring and bracelet belongs to her mother.” “And she took it without asking,” another responded.
Jennie felt sorry for Annabel. I’m glad I’m not in her shoes, she thought. Everyone knows she not only took the ring and bracelet without permission, but she lied about them being hers.
Jennie knew more than that about Annabel. She knew that Annabel didn’t have confidence that people would like her just for herself. She felt she had to have something she could show off in order for anyone to notice her.
I need to talk with her, she thought. Maybe I can help her gain self-confidence. I will show her she is important to God and she doesn’t need “things” for people to like her. I bet I can help her-I know I can help her-if she’s ready and I think she is.
Jennie felt good. I think tomorrow is going to be a good day, she thought.
MEMORY VERSE: “And when you stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses,” Mark 11:25.