I decided to stop by Starbucks after work, as I do on occasion, especially on days which I feel I and/or Jonas’s teacher have earned a treat. (Because we both adore kids, but–let’s be real–they’re not always angels.)
When I got there, one of the young ladies asked if I had a mobile order. “Yes, for Rebecka.” (Yes, I’m that person. Mobile ordering is where. It’s. At.)
The young man working the drive thru orders looked over at me. “Peterson, right?”
“Yeah…” I said, clearly not hiding my confusion very well. You are not old enough to be forgetting students already, Rebecka! I sternly told myself.
“You probably don’t recognize me,” he started to say, but in that moment he stepped into the light and I knew exactly to whom I was speaking!
The reason he thought I might not recognize him is because he’s trans. So, yes, he looks significantly different now, but still the same kind smile I knew.
“Hello, C! How are you? How have you been?!”
C told me he was doing really well now. He had actually just gotten married two weeks ago! He looked so happy as he waved his new wedding band. The kind of happy I only got see in him every now and then when he was a teenager.
A couple days ago I wrote about how we, as public educators, open our doors wide to everyone.
If it weren’t for this job, I know I would not meet many people outside my white, straight, Christian community. I like my white, straight, Christian friends a lot. But I think it’s dangerous to live in a bubble. The danger is that we stop learning about other people and when we stop learning about other people, we stop understanding. And when we stop understanding, we start to fear, don’t we? We fear people not like us.
I’m starting to wonder if the opposite of love is not hate…but fear.
It’s so easy to fear people not like us or to be intimidated by them.
The only way to combat that is to step out of our comfort zones and get to know people not like us. Learn their stories and share our story.
That’s one of the greatest gifts this job has given me: getting to know people not quite like me. Every year I hope to shed more and more fear and gain more and more love for all God’s people.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out all fear…
-I John 4:18