He was the first man I ever met who hated hate and while I can’t remember his name, I can still to this day vividly remember his face and the day he talked about how much hatred was in the world.
It wasn’t even the year 2000 yet, but there he was, a man ahead of his time, breaking down in tears as he talked about how much the hatred of the world takes out of him.
I was in my late 20s at the time, going through a divorce and in a group therapy session back in my native Maine, when I met the man whose name escapes me.
I want to say Glenn. But maybe it was Ted.
The name isn’t important, though. The emotion is what counts and what brings me here today to spill my guts on this topic.
I’m guessing that Glenn (or was it Ted?) was close to my age now when I first met him — late 40s, closing in too fast on the big five-oh — when he took the floor that day and let all the emotion pour out of him.
I was somewhat new to the group at the time and I remember realizing I had never seen such raw emotion flow out of a human being like that before. It was eye-opening. It was human. It was so real.
I’ve thought of Ted (Glenn?) a lot lately because I’m beginning to sense how much hatred is out there in the world. That’s not true. It’s not a sense anymore. It’s a full-fledged inner feeling that leaves me uneasy.
I know there’s always been hatred. History has taught us that and reminds of us that every day.
But it was always big picture stuff.
I know there are people, radicals, who hate other people and they’re willing to fly planes into buildings, or walk into concert halls in Paris and kill, all in the name of their take on their religion.
We claim to not understand that, yet there are people who invoke the name of Jesus Christ himself in order to strike down homosexuality and same-sex marriage, and a myriad of other things they don’t agree with.
Radicals are to Islam what the Westboro Baptist Church is to Christianity, right?
What has me inner-grieving so much, though, is today I see people I consider (considered?) my friends, spewing hatred at other people through social media sites, just because they want to and just because they can.
Sometimes it’s political as they attack President Obama for random things that rise up from their view point on the right. Those on the left do the same thing to the far right Tea Party people, too.
And because of this whole left-right thing nothing gets done in our country anymore. The political system is broken and embarrassing.
Sometimes it’s cultural because, well, for some reason they think it’s fun to hate on somebody because they’re young, rich, famous (Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, et. al). Where does this come from? Jealousy? I’m far from a Justin Bieber fan and I don’t like his music one iota, but if I had his money and the paparazzi following me around 24/7, I can’t imagine what trouble I would have found myself in. I guess you would have hated me, too, if that was the case.
There’s sports fan hatred, too, and I’m getting tired of that. The Patriots are despised because they win all the time and dip their toes into the waters of probable cheating to get an edge. (Like they’re the only ones). The Giants and Cowboys despise each other because, well, they’re the Giants and Cowboys and that’s what they’re supposed to do.
I grew up hating the Yankees for no reason other than they were the arch-rivals of my beloved Boston Red Sox.
I learned to hate the Boston Celtics for no other reason than they were the arch-rivals of my beloved Philadelphia 76ers … and they won all the time and were arrogant in doing so.
But sports hatred is left to be tolerated because, after all, it’s only a game, right?
Sadly, not for everybody.
In my own life, looking back on it, I can count the number of people I hated on one hand. And I was one of them, so I’ve learned that I have to let such hatred go because otherwise it would have taken me down with it.
In my heart, I want to be hate free and I try every day to remain that way.
But then I log onto Facebook, or scroll through Twitter, and I read the hateful comments and it saddens me.
I’m tempted to get off both forever, signing off and not dealing with it anymore.
People tell me to block the haters, or unfollow them, and this would be the wise choice. But these are also people I love and care about, too, and cutting the cord isn’t that easy.
I just don’t understand why people are so full of hate anymore. How can we be with the world the way it is?
More than 20 years ago, I met a man who nearly crumbled under the weight of hate. I don’t know what happened to Glenn/Ted, but I hope he’s out there and I hope he’s OK.
I guess I want all of us to be OK, but with all the hatred in the world — from the little things, to next terrorist strike that’s coming down the pike — I fear that will never be the case.