Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Revisiting A Bully

While rereading and ruminating about this post, I recalled a wonderful, healing experience that happened a couple months ago.

I was working my usual shift and a well-kept man about my age came in and circulated around in my department... eyeballing me curiously. He approached me and asked me for assistance. After talking to him for a couple minutes and giving him the answers he was after, he asked me if my name was (real name). He then asked if I recognized him at all. I did not. As it turns out, he was one of the bullies I mentioned previously. He said, "I've been wanting to tell you how sorry I am for the way I treated you back in school. It was wrong of me...."

We had been pre-teens in a backwards country school with terrible administrators who did very little about problem behaviors at the time. Bullying complaints were not taken seriously, even those involving damage to property & physical harm. It was all chocked up to "kids being kids."
Regardless of the his abusive tendencies (learned behavior from home) I still remembered him often since those years and worried about what might have happened to him as a result of the bad influences in his life. He was an intelligent kid, but also one who unknowingly wore his damage where everyone could see it; an angry little boy, sickly on many levels and it was easy to tell that some nasty things were happening to him outside of school.

I told him that I understood why he had been like that and he was forgiven. The guy has seen some horrors in his lifetime yet he still turned out OK!
This whole experience blindsided me in the best possible way, leaving me glowing and teary-eyed. The kid came to terms with it all and became a better man! Moments like these are what I need to hold onto, keeping alive my faith in the future and a positive direction for our species.

Yet again I come full circle in some fashion. No matter how many times you go around before, the experience always changes; bringing something newer and better than the last time. Giving up on healing past hurts does not mean that life no longer wants you to have the cure for them. The sardonic realist side of my personality used to whisper in my ear that this stuff only happens in movies, never in every-day life. The cynicism is still there, but it gets quieter and less prominent as time passes. Forgiveness takes on new depth in my life, but there is still more to forgive, I'm working on it. Remember that sometimes when you give up seeking the answer, the answer seeks you out and dumps itself in your lap.


CrackerLilo said...

Wow. This is amazing.

I had a girl who'd spread nasty rumors about me in high school ask forgiveness a few years ago; I told her to go fuck herself. I didn't think she was sincere. I thought she only wanted to make herself feel better. I don't regret it.

That said, it looks like the circumstances were very different with your former bully--that he was living out what he got at home in school, and that y'all were younger. And you could really see a better person in him. I'm glad for you that you could forgive and that you found some healing.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I too sort of believe these situations are in made for TV movies, and not so much real life... It's awesome that you had this experience, and it show a lot of self growth for the offender to step up and apologize.
I wish more people had these experienced, on both ends of the situation.

Steve S said...

You are very blessed to have had your bully ask for forgiveness. I wish mine (any one of them) would do the same, and I would hope that I could be big enough to give forgiveness.

Anonymous said...

That's a great story.

It is amazing that the world is not more f*cked up than it already is. Even bullies without good homes or good schools can turn out all right.

Says something about the way God takes care of us here.