YOU ARE A BUM

I was assigned to do a one-page essay in my Academic Writing and Research class. Mr. Cotton gave us 40 minutes to write it. The topic was “Heroes,” and I had to pick someone. I went with Ree, because picking Jesus, though it would’ve been more accurate, just seemed a bit cliché somehow at a Christian college. And I assumed he meant besides Jesus.

Without further commentary, my paper, titled

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YOU ARE A BUM

If I had to pick a hero, someone who I feel has made the biggest positive difference in my life, I would have to choose Ree Enlow. Ree is a forty- or fifty-something-year-old woman whose official title is “Director of Guest Services” at Jumonville, a Christian camp and conference center near Uniontown, Pennsylvania. The group of college-age kids who worked there this past summer just called her “Mom.”

The first time I really got to know Ree was at the interviews to work at Jumonville. The Jumonville year-round staff interviewed those of us who had applied for summer jobs, and we then interviewed them. At the end of the time designated for us to interview Ree, she looked around the circle, making eye contact with each of us, and said these words:

“You are already a part of Jumonville. I will pray for every one of you. I want you to know this: You are a beautiful, unrepeatable miracle. You are worth the air you breathe and the space you take up. God did not make a mistake when He created you.” She said each word with so much passion that I think, at least in that moment, we all believed her.

Over the summer, she poured herself into all of us. The first week, some of us stayed at her house, and I decided that she actually believed what she had said. She treated us as if she believed it. She taught us that because we are beautiful, unrepeatable miracles, or “BUMs” for short, we deserve respect. I slowly began to believe her, and I began to respect myself more and expect more respect from others. And I taught those same lessons to the kids who came to camp there that summer every chance I got.
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Mr. Cotton thought that Ree’s statement in paragraph 3 should have been a part of paragraph 2. I still disagree, but I’ll do it the right way in the future. In my opinion, that paragraph was already too long 🙂

He stuck the “What a cool concept” note with an arrow toward the word BUM in the last paragraph. Typical of English teachers, he wrote it in red pen. The same red pen he used to stick the big fat A on the top. YAY, GOD! 🙂

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