The Christian Science Monitor Weekly

January 21, 2019

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In middle school I was bullied by a boy in my class. Things came to a head one day in my class. Things came to a head one day when he snapped a bicycle lock around my when he snapped a bicycle lock around my neck. The boy went off to his seat gloating, neck. The boy went off to his seat gloating, and the other boys thought it was funny. and the other boys thought it was funny. The teacher made him take the lock off after The teacher made him take the lock off after class but didn't punish him. I was expected class but didn't punish him. I was expected to forget the whole thing. But I couldn't. to forget the whole thing. But I couldn't. That night I knew that something need That night I knew that something need - ed to be done to bring about change. I had ed to be done to bring about change. I had learned in the Christian Science Sunday learned in the Christian Science Sunday School that Jesus said, "Love your enemies, School that Jesus said, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you" (Luke 6:27, 28, New International Ver you" (Luke 6:27, 28, New International Ver - sion). In the beginning this seemed impos- sion). In the beginning this seemed impos- sible. How could I love someone who had sible. How could I love someone who had humiliated me like this? But I was sure that humiliated me like this? But I was sure that retaliation would just make things worse. retaliation would just make things worse. What I wanted was a solution that would What I wanted was a solution that would allow both of us to coexist – and thrive – in allow both of us to coexist – and thrive – in school. So I endeavored to love, which I felt school. So I endeavored to love, which I felt was the only approach that could secure a was the only approach that could secure a permanent solution, and I promised my permanent solution, and I promised my - self that I would let nothing get in the way self that I would let nothing get in the way of this. To help me accomplish that, I wrote of this. To help me accomplish that, I wrote on the last page of my notebook, "I need to on the last page of my notebook, "I need to love Peter, too" (not his real name). A beau love Peter, too" (not his real name). A beau - tiful verse from the "Christian Science Hym- tiful verse from the "Christian Science Hym- nal: Hymns 430-603" expresses the spirit of nal: Hymns 430-603" expresses the spirit of my efforts. It reads: my efforts. It reads: Love with a heart of Love with a heart of tenderness tenderness Your enemies and Your enemies and friends; friends; However hard this may appear, However hard this may appear, This quality just mends. This quality just mends. For Love is God in action true, For Love is God in action true, A presence that is felt; A presence that is felt; A healing and a saving power A healing and a saving power That will all discord melt. That will all discord melt. (Jill Gooding, No. 519, © CSBD) (Jill Gooding, No. 519, © CSBD) This doesn't mean tolerating inappro This doesn't mean tolerating inappro - priate behavior. On the contrary, expressing priate behavior. On the contrary, expressing God's love comes from the basis of under God's love comes from the basis of under - standing our fellow man as spiritual, thus standing our fellow man as spiritual, thus innocent and harmless. This view naturally innocent and harmless. This view naturally acts as a rebuke to any thought or action acts as a rebuke to any thought or action that isn't in line with God's goodness. that isn't in line with God's goodness. The next day the boy imitated every The next day the boy imitated every - thing I did, but I knew what I had to do. Each thing I did, but I knew what I had to do. Each time I felt upset, I told myself that my job time I felt upset, I told myself that my job was to love him and to pray to know that was to love him and to pray to know that God loved both of us. This must mean that God loved both of us. This must mean that God wouldn't let him harm me or anyone! God wouldn't let him harm me or anyone! After recess a few days later, I was mor After recess a few days later, I was mor - tified to see that my notebook had been tified to see that my notebook had been opened to the last page. But then I saw opened to the last page. But then I saw that the boy had added, "Yes, and I need to that the boy had added, "Yes, and I need to love you, too." To this day love you, too." To this day I don't know why he even I don't know why he even opened it. I had not shown opened it. I had not shown the entry to anyone. the entry to anyone. This was the end of the This was the end of the issue. This boy had in the past teased others, issue. This boy had in the past teased others, including some teachers, and that stopped. including some teachers, and that stopped. I, in turn, was never again bullied by anyone. I, in turn, was never again bullied by anyone. While there's a great need for adults to While there's a great need for adults to be alert and responsive to bullying, it didn't be alert and responsive to bullying, it didn't occur to me at the time to involve adults. It occur to me at the time to involve adults. It felt natural to pray for a solution that would felt natural to pray for a solution that would allow both of us to live up to our potential. allow both of us to live up to our potential. I can now see how this led to a permanent I can now see how this led to a permanent solution that blessed us both. Each of us solution that blessed us both. Each of us went on to a rewarding career we loved. went on to a rewarding career we loved. I learned from this that following Jesus' I learned from this that following Jesus' demands empowers and protects us. Mid demands empowers and protects us. Mid - dle school is often considered a difficult dle school is often considered a difficult time for kids, but I'd been equipped with the time for kids, but I'd been equipped with the best knowledge I could have ever wanted – best knowledge I could have ever wanted – how to be protected from enemies by lov how to be protected from enemies by lov - ing them – and that made all the difference! ing them – and that made all the difference! – Susanne van Eyl – Susanne van Eyl Bullying and the love that heals it love that heals it A CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PERSPECTIVE Hunting 'snipe' in the English lexicon As a child I played my share of games at summer camp, but I never went on a snipe hunt. This is a kind of practical joke that was particularly popular among the Boy Scouts. A new Scout would be told stories about "the snipe," a marvelous animal that lived in the woods and looked like a rabbit with antlers, or perhaps a squirrel with feathers. He would be led into the forest, instructed to call the animal by making various noises, and given a bag to capture it when it approached. In the meantime, his friends would return to camp, leaving the gullible newcomer alone in the woods, making silly noises, until comprehension dawned. While the target of a summer camp snipe hunt is an imaginary animal, snipes are real – small, brown, wading birds. Though somewhat undistinguished as a bird, snipe has developed a surprisingly diverse set of meanings as an English word. A sniper shoots at long-range targets from a concealed position. Snipes are some of the most difficult game birds to hunt because they blend into their surroundings, are small in size, and have er- ratic flight patterns. Anyone who can flush a snipe and then hit it as it flies away must be a crack shot, hence sniper. An alternative etymology holds that the word derives from the snipe's own method of hunting. It has excellent camouflage and a long bill, and so might, to the mollusks and amphibians it eats, seem to attack suddenly and from a long distance away. Snipe was then extended metaphori - cally to describe sharp criticism, verbal attacks that seem to come in bursts from afar: "The politicians sniped at each other endlessly." Today it has become a common hockey term. A particularly skilled and difficult goal might be called a snipe, and a player who can consistently bring off such shots a sniper. It also describes bidding in an online or silent auction that occurs too late to allow others to respond. I once lost an item at a school auction to someone who had stealthily waited until the closing bell rang, then bid $5 more. Now I have a word for that: I was sniped. Since the late 19th century, snipe has also referred to the discarded end of a cigar or cigarette, and snipe hunting is searching the ground for old butts to smoke. This usage seems to be related to guttersnipe, a street urchin. English has a habit of turning bird names into derogatory terms, as in goose, chicken, and turkey, and snipe is no exception. From temperate marshes and forests to hockey rinks, dirty city streets, and eBay, snipes are everywhere. r By Melissa Mohr THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR WEEKLY | JANUARY 21, 2019 43

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