Thursday, January 3, 2013

Redemption and Forgivenss - A Bully Tale (Pt 2)


Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I choked back bitter anguish. How long until relief would come? In the mean season of 2009, a collective spasm grasped our country as ever climbing unemployment numbers spiked. We escaped a second round of homelessness by the skin of our gnashing teeth.

While our family lived in two states, I longed for the day we could shed ourselves of this cursed house on this cursed cul-de-sac. Escape via relocation was out of the question because of plummeting real estate values.

October 2009
I would have rent my clothes and smeared myself in ashes but for fear of seeming crazy. Just when I thought things were as bad as they could get, I tumbled in the backyard breaking my leg in three places.

Waiting in the rain, first to be discovered and then for EMS, I had one sickening thought:  I do not feel safe for my son with two good legs. How in the world are we going to survive this onslaught of bullying now?

We survived on homeschool lessons, T.V. and computer games. The isolation nearly killed us both. He didn’t venture outside for the entire six months I was recovering. But for friends offering an occasional respite for him, we were on our own.

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Anguish over lost dreams tormented me: tea, scones, friendship and all my other fairy tale cul-de-sac dreams lay in ruins. Anguish over my behavior that awful day and the awful things I said haunted me. Even more haunting were fears my son would never be the same.

In those days, I forced myself to pray with the boys because I did not want my doubt to sully their futures. No matter how I struggle, I want to plant relentless faith in them. I fought off the impulse to shake my fist in God’s face and ask, “Why? What did I ever do to you?”

We asked God to bring relief and to restore our cul-de-sac dreams. Oh, how I wanted to pray, “You smite ‘em, God, because if you don’t, I’ll have to as soon as I can walk again.”

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Instead, we prayed for the cul-de-sac gang asking for restoration of their hurting souls. Wanna know the cold hard truth? I prayed those prayers thinking they had a snowflakes chance in you-know-where of being answered.

Son #2 got bigger, faster, and stronger reaching six feet at age fourteen. I’m sure those changes were great equalizers. He went away to camp and came home renewed in spirit. The specter of bullying lost its hold during the week away. His love of heavy metal music and the easy way he moves around in that community fostered respect where once there had been only disdain. Go figure?

With the hindsight of newly emerging maturity, he was able to deconstruct some things about his past.

Mom, you know how Aspies have a hard time deciphering and using sarcasm for humor? Looking back, I think the kids weren’t always trying to be bullies. I think sometimes they were just trying to tease and joke with me the way they did each other. I didn’t understand. We get along so much better now that I do.

Mad Penguin Creative
In that moment, I realized my heart had become a dried out sponge – as hard and brittle as if it had been left out in the New Mexico desert to dry. His words were the first drops of water dripping over my weary soul. And yet, I remained cautious and skeptical despite the number of uncomplicated interactions he continued to have.

As Christmas breaks approached this year, apprehension again gnawed at me. How would ‘those’ kids be with time on their hands? Trust doesn’t come easy after the worst, most miserable failure of your life.

Son #2 bounced in the back door. I smiled to myself rejoicing at the simple sign of healing. My irrepressible Tigger had returned.

Mom! Guess what? I just had an incredible conversation. You won’t believe what’s happened. He apologized! He told me how sorry he is for the way he used to treat me.


Courtesy Mad  Penguin Creative
Out poured the story of one young man’s courage as he faced his former victim and owned up to their hurtful past. He said he’d come to faith in Christ. That rebirth of soul compelled his sincere apology.

Tears, filled with both redemption and forgiveness, poured down my cheeks as I took in the enormity of it all. My youthful nemesis had become my brother in faith. His actions spoke more clearly than his words. The power of both echoed through our home.

A few days later, I asked my son to forward an email. I let my fellow Christ-follower know that we had prayed for him even during the worst of days. I applauded his courage in addressing his hurtful actions. I wished him well and told him he remains in our prayers. Now we rejoice in what Christ has done vs mourn  the pain we knew before.

I pray he will carry our mutual experience with him into the future and use it for the sake of others.  If his recent courage is any indicator, I would say he will serve the body of Christ in exemplary ways 
Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative

If I told you the truth, I’d admit I have a new cul-de-sac dream. It doesn’t involve tea and scones. It involves two young men standing together, tormentor and victim of his aggression, telling other young people about their shared journey. And, if that’s my daydream, can you imagine how much better God’s plan?


John 13:34,35 (The Message)
Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.

To read Part 1 of this story - click here.

To read the series re being invisible and homeless in America -

click here.




14 comments:

  1. A beautiful story. Amazing how God works. :)

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    1. I hope from the soles of my shoes that I did the story justice. I was afraid to tell because of the fear of not doing so. Thank you for your kind encouragement in that regard. Hugs!

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  2. Wow, that is amazing how he came to ask forgiveness...Wow! God does amazing things. I pray for continued emotional healing for your family and that this young man does carry his lessons learned forward. We once lived on a cul-de-sac, too bad we weren't on the same one

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    1. The story will amaze no one more than it did me. I had given up completely on any resolution or restitution. Thank you for your prayers for continued healing. I am no longer a skeptic, but I do wonder if I will ever feel really 'at home' here on this street. sigh. Will I ever really feel that way until the Lord calls us home? I guess not, huh?

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  3. Wow that's quite a powerful story. So hard to be a mom watching your child's pain. Just so happy that there is some restoration. Praying for continued healing.

    I have just "discovered" your blog. So glad I did!

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    1. I'm always amazed when a new visitor stops by and leaves a comment. It's a wonder anyone finds me here in the nether regions of cyberspace. I pray that I was able to write the events as powerfully as they unfolded and that my words will bring healing, and hope of healing, to many. Blessings and don't let this be your last visit to the home for weary fraidy cats!

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  4. LOve you and pray all cul-de-sac problems turn out well for all families. Me, I'm still waiting....

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    1. My heart breaks knowing how rare this sort of 'ending' is given how frequently bullying related issues affect society these days. In this situation, more than just a few kids were involved. I refer to only one of those involved because only one has apologized in a meaningful way. We do have lots to talk about over that cup of tea and scones! Hope to see you soon and do just that. (( <3 ))

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  5. I love this story. We have had a similar experience, but so far not happy ending. But, I still pray for them. Thank you for sharing this. Love you Carol Anne!

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    1. We talk a lot about how relatively rare our experience is. I hope this article will strengthen the resolve of others to 'pray for their enemies'! Lots of days I just didn't want to, and Son #2 spurred me on. He was far more forgiving than me!

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