Dear Middle School bully, I forgive you for the three years of torture you put me through. I realize now that you too had struggles and pains in your life and no one to help you sort them out in a healthy way. My adult heart truly aches for what you must have been experiencing to spend so much energy and time making another person feel so horrible, scared and hopeless. I wish you could have shared your problems with me, so that we could have been friends and sorted life out together, instead of choosing to be my enemy. The most baffling thing for me especially back then, was I never knew, I still do not, what it was about me appointed me your target. I can tell you that I spent many hours trying to decipher what it was, and many more hours trying to change whatever it was I would perceive it to be.
You did not need social media to terrorize me. You did just fine with the telephone, passing notes and using other kids just as scared of you to get messages to me. So while we would like to blame social media, it certainly is not the cause, nor the evil here, but at the core is our inability as a society to admit we or our children are in trouble, hurting or most importantly need help. Instead of blaming the victim for being bullied, sadly I cannot tell you how many adults said, “what did you do?” Or expecting to the innocent party to change or avoid the bully, the next saddest statement, “just ignore her”, someone should have stepped up and reached out to you.
What you probably never knew is your incessant bullying was just a part of many other difficult and even horrible things going in my life at that time. It was just one more straw in my overloaded backpack of life that would eventually lead to my attempting to take my life at only 13 years old. By the grace of God, and for reasons only He knows, it was spared, and for that I am grateful. You see, as an adult (who has now had many years of therapy, spiritual direction, and a re-version to the Catholic faith), I know now suicide would have been a permanent solution to my very temporary problem. If I had been allowed to succeed, I would have never been given the opportunity to bring my two sons into the world. I would not have two other children waiting and praying for me in heaven, nor would I have been able to provide a home for a beautiful little deaf girl from China. As well as touch the lives of countless people God has allowed me to share His love with, or other missions He has sent me on I’ll never even know I was a part of – but because I was here, I was available for.
Yes, Middle School bully, or should I say friend from Middle School with a very broken heart and low sense of self and worth, who choose to bully me. I forgive you. I really do. I pray for your happiness, and hope you have found healing and help for whatever it was that brought you to that place so many years ago to make every waking moment of a very scared little girl’s life a living hell. Yours must have been infinitely worse, and I am so sorry that you suffered that way.
St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.
God has been very faithful to this promise in my life, providing me abundant opportunity to share my sorrows and triumphs, and hopefully bring comfort and hope to those who are in a similar situation.
I pray this for you. I pray first and foremost that you have found God, and allowed His merciful, faithful heart to heal yours. I pray that you have been allowed to bring healing to others who have shared in your childhood struggles, and even more importantly in doing so, have been able to prevent or stop others who may or could have turn to bullying as a way of coping with their confusion, doubts and fears.
Yes, Middle School bully, I forgive you and wish you the abundant joy and life that God has sent His only Son to bring to us. I chose to forgive, I chose to release you from the bitterness and anger, I could harbor, because I do not wish either of us to be held by those memories any longer. Yes, forgiveness is an act of the will, just as making the choice to be part of the solution.
If you are being bullied, tell someone – beg them to help you AND the person who is hurting you. If you have hate in your heart against anyone, that is not okay and it is not normal, please reach out for help. Tell someone, don’t be ashamed of your jealousy, insecurity or suffering – YOU are loved, and God wants you to not only know it but to experience it.