It would only be a matter of time before he walked in the door. There was no way of escaping the upcoming encounter and so I nervously stood awaiting his arrival. My night had been spent replaying yesterday and conjuring ways to get the best of him this time around. As the familiar patter of his feet ran up the ramp to my trailer, I was ready for round two. The door opened and there was Earnest. I could feel every muscle in my body clench and knew the showdown was upon me.
“Hey Mr. Bacchus, I’m the first one here” he boasted proudly. “What are we going to do today?” he asked. I was so tense and angry I couldn’t even respond before Earnest switched thoughts and said, “I’m going to hide and scare the others as they come in”. He began looking for a hiding spot and I stood dumbfounded in front of my classroom. Earnest in his Khaki pants, uniform polo, and lazy eye squeezed and ducked into to several places before eventually ending up behind a bookcase. He seemed to have no care in the world and to have completely forgotten what happened the day before.
Just 24 hours earlier, I learned a 6th grader could put me in my place. Earnest had thrown his books across the room, cussed me out, stomped his feet, and refused to go the principles office as I screamed at the top of my lungs. Every moment after that incident had been spent holding on to the anger that arose. I carried it with me all day, night, and morning while Earnest didn’t seem to care. It seemed as if it was just a forgotten memory to him as he giggled from behind the bookcase. He voiced his only concern at the time saying, “Mr. Bacchus don’t look in my direction or it will give me away”. One by one as my other students walked into class, Earnest jumped out from behind the bookcase screaming, “boo”. He swore he scared each of them but they all just shook their heads and said “Earnest your dumb”. Earnest was far from dumb and was teaching me a valuable lesson to carry along my journey.
It took me a while to understand it but he illustrated to me that “holding on to anger and resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die” (Alice May). Earnest threw his books, stomped his feet, cussed me out and let it go. I on the other hand carried it around with me all day long letting it poison my state of being. I barely ate, barely slept, continued to re-live the event, and stressed over future encounters, while Earnest went right on about his day. He woke up that morning ready to seize a new day and the opportunities God presented him with while I was dreading the day and still stuck in yesterday.
There will always be people, situations, and events that will anger me. However, I can choose how I handle that anger. I can carry them with me and poison my peace of mind and my ability to enjoy life or I can be like Earnest and experience it then let it go. By following the example of Earnest, I can spend more time having fun jumping from behind bookcases.