An unusual school day and an unexpected blessing

I strove to identify everyone as God’s cherished child, untouched by hatred. 

Originally published for the Christian Science Sentinel online on August 24, 2023

As a substitute teacher in a large suburban high school, I have the joy of interacting happily with nearly eight hundred students a week. A dramatic exception occurred one day last year in a study hall I was supervising. 

A large young man I don’t recall having ever seen before suddenly acted angrily and menacingly toward me for no apparent reason, coming toward me, screaming invectives. Finally he grabbed my metal water bottle from the desk and hurled it against the wall, frightening everyone in the classroom. The school authorities and police were called in, and when questioned about his behavior, he responded, “All white women hate me because I’m Muslim.” Though I was unharmed physically, the incident was unsettling, to say the least. 

The student was disciplined, but I felt I needed to regain a sense of safety and peace. I was determined that I would not be deprived of my joy or have my days darkened by fear, hostility, or anyone’s experience of cultural or religious bias. I strove to identify everyone upon whom my thoughts rested as God’s cherished child, untouched by hatred and division. 

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