July 26, 2003

The Death of Hatred

My first P.E. teacher died Sunday. I just found out about it reading my hometown newspaper online. He was the first teacher I really hated. He was the first in an unbroken succession of P.E. teachers for whom I had nothing but antipathy.

I was a bit surprised at my reaction when reading his very brief obituary. I was quite sad. I was sad that he died so young -- he was only 59. Now that I'm 39, 59 doesn't seem very old at all. And I was very sad that the only other comment in the obit would seem to indicate that he died without Christ. His funeral was conducted by a Justice of the Peace. Usually if someone has even the slightest religious affiliation, their family finds a preacher to do the funeral.

It doesn't matter any more than he was a bully. I don't even know what he became over the next thirty years. When he was my P.E. teacher, he was ten years younger than I am now. As Mark Antony says in Julius Caesar, "The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft iterred with their bones." But even if he became a much nicer teacher, at the end of the day, and on that Great and Final Day, it really doesn't matter.

I can't say that I absolutely know his relationship to Christ and His Church. Perchance he was found in Christ, I will pray for his soul. It may do more good for me than for him. After all, Ronnie would not have remember me. I would have blended into the faceless past. The latent anger I have felt for thirty years was unknown to him. It never affected him in any way.

I think about all the people I have already known who are faceless to me now. I think of everyone with whom I will come into contact over the next years. How will I affect them and never know it? What damage will I do by my callous words? Will I repeatedly be a candidate for a millstone necklace?

In praying for Ronnie, I will pray for myself, that I will not be what he was, at least what he was to me when I knew him. You can pray for me, too.

Posted by david at July 26, 2003 06:44 PM | TrackBack