A Reformation Ghost Story

Many years ago I was standing outside my classroom door on a dreary afternoon.  My remedial students had just shuffled into the hall for a water break.  As I watched them, I wondered, not for the first time, whether the only real good I was doing these high school kids was keeping them off the streets for eight hours a day.

My mood was especially bleak because I was dead-tired.  I’d stayed up late again scribbling—adding yet another few paragraphs to my work in progress.  Two other unpublished novels and a stack of rejection slips were all I had to show for almost seven years of neglecting  my family and  shortchanging my students.

Why had I wasted so much time logging more library hours and conducting more grueling research than during my entire college career?  Who was I to presume to write a novel about Martin Luther?  And even if I did finish the long slog toward another completed manuscript, who would ever want to read my amateurish attempt at chronicling Reformation history?

And then a strangely familiar figure glided around the corner past the cluster of teens at the drinking fountain.  The students did not even seem to see the brown-robed monk with dark, close-cropped hair.  The monk smiled at me and said, “Good afternoon, Hilda.”

Bei alles Heiligen, as Captain von Berlepsch would say–by all that is holy I swear to you that Martin Luther appeared to me at Chesterton High School and greeted me by name.

Would it matter if I told you that one of my colleagues, a history teacher who is fond of dressing in period attire, had just begun his Reformation unit?

It matters not to me.  I know a sign when I see one.

With renewed vigor I returned to my scribbling.  Three published novels later, I’m glad that I did.