Deceptively Tranquil
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Deceptively Tranquil

It’s a pretty hill with horse paddocks and spring flowers blossoming from the fertile Massachusetts soil.  One would not think too much about it if it were not for a small stone memorial by the road.  One horrible night in 1675 it wasn’t so tranquil.  Native Americans swept over the hill destroying the small homes of the settlers.  While standing by the marker I tried to imagine the carnage, the gunfire, the roar of flames, the scalping, and the screams of terror of the children and others who perished midst the war cries of the slayers.  I know this place well because it is adjacent to our little New England college.

Walking back to my classroom I looked over the faces of thirty-four students waiting for me to interrupt their tunes and texting as I asked them to turn off all their electronic gear.  Their faces are as deceptive as that tranquil hillside.  Without the marker no one would ever know about the hill’s violent night.  Unless my students tell me, I have no idea what their lives are all about.   They range in ages from 18 to 40.  Each has a story. Some are stories of a happy home and others could most likely tell tales that would raise the hair on our necks.   Sometimes they fill me with exasperation but I try to not say what my impulses want to say.  I have already made the mistake of saying things in jest only to have them break into tears.  That is crushing to me and to them.

I am not surprised that Jesus told us not to judge others.  We cannot make accurate assessments because we have not been where they have been nor have we shared their joys and their pains.

Written by Roger Bothwell on March 19, 2010

Spring of Life Ministry, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574