Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Teacher (10/26/06)
By Larry Elliott
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They gave him several warnings which he chose to disregard.
His crime? He talked about God.
At first I considered him merely a foolish religious fanatic, but the more I actually listened to what he had to say the more I wanted to hear. Then I actually began to like him.
Eventually I realized he truly cared about his students, all of them, even me.
I used to consider myself a lost cause- maybe I still am- but his genuine concern for me has given me cause to reconsider many of the beliefs I have about myself.
I hear they arrested him. Maybe he will have a chance to talk to my older brother. He has been in trouble with the law since he was fourteen- my age. This is his second time in jail- or is it the third? My parents are afraid I will follow in his footsteps. They are probably right, I think- or maybe not. They do not talk about my brother when I am around, but word on the streets is that he killed someone this time. I hope the rumors are just that.
Some of the teacher’s statements cause me to wonder if I actually have another choice. At least now I want to believe this is true.
I stayed late one day to ask him a personal question in private. I told him I had already been involved in some petty crimes like stealing small items from some of the local merchants. I wanted to know if his God would forgive a young boy who knew that what he was doing was wrong. He said yes, most certainly. All I had to do was ask.
Later that night while alone I did ask. I instantly felt something inside, something I still cannot explain. It is like I just somehow knew I had been forgiven of all those poor decisions.
I believe there is a God, but this idea of a personal savior, I am just not quite sure I understand it all.
I am on my way to the jail to visit my brother and tell him about the teacher.
As I approach I notice some sort of commotion. A large crowd has gathered on the court house lawn.
I push my way toward the front and I can see my brother on the second floor balcony.
To my surprise standing next to him is the teacher.
I wave but neither notices me.
The crowd is shouting and chanting my brother’s name.
“Barabbas! Set Barabbas free! Give us Barabbas!”
I join in, crying out his name to the limit of my youthful lungs.
I ask a stranger why the teacher was standing silent beside my brother and looking so sad.
After he explained it all to me I realized just how much I loved the teacher.
I ran into the hills and hid and wept.
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