I got a note in my locker last week. It was from my faculty advisor, a physics teacher who meets with my group once a week for about 15 minutes. Every Monday, we listen to her give a devotion, eat some cookies, have a group prayer, and then move on to our next class. She knows that I prefer brownies to cookies, is familiar with my extracurricular activities, and knows what I sound like when I speak. Aside from that, she hardly knows me and I hardly know her. And that’s fine. Except for the fact that she wrote me a very personal note and put it in my locker.
She told me that she doesn’t usually write letters to students, but that she thought I especially could use it. She wrote that she thought that I had “deaf ears” to God and that she probably knew why. She said that I, like her, probably had a family of nonbelievers, and that she understood how hard it could be to come to the faith when that didn’t even seem like an option. She told me all of this and that she thought I was lost and that she was praying for me.
My first reaction was anger. Her job is to teach, NOT to change my beliefs. Who was she to tell me that I was a lost soul? She doesn’t know who I am and knows NOTHING about my family. She just supposed that I was afraid to adhere to a religion because of what my family or my friends think when in reality, my parents are very religious and half of my peers attack me when they find out that I don’t believe in God.
Later, I talked to a friend, and she told me that the teacher was just trying to help me. I reasoned out that the gesture was meant to be kind, and so, although I was frustrated, I decided to ignore it. That worked UNTIL a few days later, when I was mulling about the hallways during a study hall and, would you believe it, ANOTHER teacher made a valiant attempt to save my soul. It was my English teacher of two years. I had given a speech in his class in which I extensively talked about Sharon Needles. Needless to say, this teacher did NOT approve of my interest in drag culture and told me that he thought it sounded like I just ditched Christianity and decided to make drag queens my new gods. He told me he was worried for me. In so many words I told him that I knew of many drag queens who had better worldviews and knew how to treat people with more respect than most of the Christians I knew. With all of the passive-aggressiveness in my heart I thanked him for trying to save my soul. Then I walked away, fuming.
This frustrates me now, but in five days, I will graduate and leave this school forever. I will never have to attend another chapel service where they tell us that we should just follow the Holy Spirit and pick up other kids’ dropped books, that God spelled backwards is dog and that’ s kind of cool, or that, above all else, we should avoid being gay, because that’s just the end of the world. I will never have to listen to another teacher, at least at this school, yell at me for my beliefs or try to rescue me from what is a very natural progression in my life. As these teachers are praying for me, asking God to let me “see his truth” or “come to him”—as they are desperately hanging on to me, I will be letting go. I will be running away as fast as I can. ♦