In light of my most recent post, I thought it fair and appropriate to share another story about teasing. Only this time, I am not the victim but the perpetrator.
His name was Peter. He was a quiet kid. An overweight kid. He lacked hygiene. He was the kid everyone picked last in gym class.
It was September of 1983 and we had just stating 8th grade. It was unseasonably warm, which was very unfortunate for the overweight kid that lacked hygiene. Peter smelled really bad. All the kids were complaining about it. Someone needed to talk to him. Apparently, I was decided that it would be me. So, with all the grace and tact of a 13 year old, I approached Peter at the water fountain and said to him, “You need to take a shower or crawl under a rock and never come out.” Yup. I said it. That poor boy. I’m not sure what was going through my head. I was not one of those mean kids. I was actually one of those kids that would stick up for the underdog. But not on that day. No, I was more than mean, I was cruel. The funny thing was that later that day, after school, I was at a friend’s house and was hit in the face with a rock. It damaged my eye and I was missed a month of school. I always thought maybe God was punishing me for being mean to Peter. But now I wonder if God was being kind to Peter, in that he didn’t have to see me for a whole month and be reminded of what I had said. I am okay with that.
I think about Peter often. I wonder about his life. What he has become. Whether he married and had a family. I wonder if he has sat in a therapist’s office, like I have, recalling wounds from the past. I wonder if I was the cause of some of his hurt.
Someday, I will find Peter and I will tell him how sorry I am for what I said. Until then, I will be kind to others and tell them all the wonderful things I see in them. I will overlook their faults. I will cheer them on. I will help them up when they fall and encourage them to continue on.