Wandering Lost

This article I found online from People magazine caught my interest.  It talks about a young woman who “stood up to” her childhood bully by standing him up on a date with a rude letter.

I’ve often imagined what I might say to one of my childhood bullies if I were to run into them today.  Of course, many years removed from the events the pain is quite distant and muted by now.  Much different than being 22 – the age of the young woman in the article.

The article is interesting because it salutes this young woman as standing up to her bully, which is in one sense accurate, I suppose.  But the article – and the young woman – miss the irony.  As much as this young woman has evidently changed in eight years, it is every bit as possible that the young man has changed equally dramatically.  And despite the man’s apology, the woman seems unable or unwilling to accept the reality of change in him.  Forgiveness?  That doesn’t appear to even be on the map.

How do you deal with someone who has hurt you?  Holding on to that hurt is ultimately self-destructive.  Hurt cannot be undone, and so reparations and making amends can only go so far.  Forgiveness is really the only option – and the least intuitive one.  This young woman has not excised the pain she was caused in her youth, and in return, she has become the thing that she detests so – a bully.  Bullying this man because she is able to.  The circle remains unbroken.  Hurt repaying hurt repaying hurt repaying hurt.

I’d like to think that I have forgiven my bullies.  Perhaps I won’t really know that for sure unless I meet them again one day.  I hope that if or when that happens, I won’t simply turn the tables on them.  Hopefully we both will have been transformed through grace and forgiveness and love.  And if we both haven’t, I hope at the very least that I am.

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