Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I Am Not as Tough as I Like to Pretend That I am...(Sorry)


Hi. Did I ever mention that my dad was Hungarian? I am sure that I did. I brag about it a lot. My dad was a great dad, and because of that, I proudly mention my Hungarianess (or, at least my Half Hungarianess) over and over again. Hungarians are a tough lot. We are cousins to Attila the Hun. Yep. Hungarians are not only related to Attila the Hun, but are dang proud of it. My dad had a friend whose son named his daughter Attila. Hardcore. I like to describe the ferociousness of the Hungarian temperament in terms that would make a pack of rabid wolves sound like newborn lambs. Any Hungarian out there reading this I'm sure is responding in their head with "Darn straight!".

That's why you may be shocked to find out that I have never actually been in a real fight. I was picked on as a child, and sorely tempted to wail on bullies, but I couldn't correlate that to Jesus' instruction to turn the other cheek. I worked hard at turning the other cheek. My daddy worked hard on teaching me to at least cover the other cheek as I was turning it. I don't think of myself as wimping out on those other fights. I think of myself as working on a different kind of strength. I was.

But every so often I would see a bully picking on a child much younger or smaller than themself. I didn't know how to turn the other cheek when it was someone else's cheek. I was consistently interfering on behalf of younger kids, but somehow, I never had to throw a punch. Stupid stuff usually happened. Once, someone punched me and cut their hand on the jagged zipper on my jacket. I know. That was very weird. I had refused to take my jacket off because while I wasn't refusing to fight, I was unclear as to when exactly it was okay to not turn the other cheek. I'd step in to help the smaller child without a plan.

Another time a bully tripped over my shoes and fell in the street and got hurt. Honestly, I was never agile enough to work something like that out on purpose. I can only picture my guardian angel and that of the kid being picked on stepping in.

Helen's Guardian Angel: Okay, she is in over her head again...
Little Kid's Guardian Angel: She does this a lot?
HGA: You have no idea....
LKGA: Okay, what's the plan...
HGA: You give the bully a good push, and when Helen gets startled by the sudden movement, I'll nudge her foot in front of him as he stumbles.
LKGA: Works for me....

My dad was always telling me not to get involved. He even showed me a scar he got from a bully that pulled a knife on him when he was defending another kid. His form of discouragement didn't work as it should have. I coveted a scar like that. I wanted my own merit badge of loyalty. Instead, what I got was bullies inept at actually following anything through. Which is actually a good thing, because in hindsight, I had the Hungarian temper, but not the agility, strength, and toughness. I'm actually a wuss. Shhh...don't tell anyone.

I do have a regret, though. It is a recent one. I have a friend who was being bullied. I offered verbal peacemaking skills, which were rejected, but nothing more. I did not offer to stand between my friend and the bully for a physical altercation. I offered to call, or go there in the hope of making peace. What I didn't offer was what I offered those youngsters all those years ago: I did not offer to stand as a wall between her and the bully, and accept the punishment myself. I am so ashamed. I do not deserve to even call myself a Hungarian.


On another note, planet Earth has survived yet another year with me on it. Yes. Today is my fortieth birthday. I'll blog tomorrow and let you know what I did, and how I feel about being seven years older than Jesus was when He died. I know. At thirty-three, Jesus Christ saved the whole world from sin and the fires of Hell. Here I am forty, and I've accomplished absolutely nothing!

God bless you!

32 comments:

Wendy said...

I wouldn't say that you've accomplished nothing. You've saved us all from our mundane lives and dull tweets. :o) And of course, I'll never be able to look at costume parties the same way again...

Happy Birthday Helen! You're the bomb!

jasonS said...

Well happy birthday Mrs. Helen! And don't say you haven't accomplished anything- don't even think such silly things. Have a great birthday and blessed year. You are a great encouragement and a heckuva a lot of fun. :)

Bridget Chumbley said...

Happy Birthday Helen! Don't 'doubt' all that you've accomplished! You are fun and a great encourager...keep it up! :)

Peter P said...

Happy Birthday to you, Happy birthday to you, Happy BIRTHday dear He-len, happy birthday to youoooooooo

(Sung in an English accent)

John Cowart said...

Hi Helen,

Just visiting from Sherri's site to wish you a happy birthday.

She wanted me to say "I love you, Helen" but that's a bit over the top.

But I will say that you're quite tolerable.

Will that do it?

sherri said...

Happy Birthday Precious Helen!

You've made me smile everyday since last November 4th! That's a pretty big accomplishment!

You've let me know that you will be there for me in whatever way you can- pretty big accomplishment for someone to achieve- especially since I've never met you!

You've been placed at the top of everyone's "all time favorite blogger list'! Huge feat! Look at all your competition!

Enjoy a wonderful day today, and the year ahead. I am a better person for having known you. THANK GOD He chose to bring you to our world for such a time as this.

I love you Helen. Truly, I do!

Nick the Geek said...

Happy b-day

I was a glutton for punishment as a kid ... ok still am. I would always step up when I saw others being picked on. Almost every fight I got into was because of that. I didn't get into a great many since most kids back down when confronted but a couple times they didn't.

Worst one was when a kid named Earl was picking on another kid. Earl was in 8th grade with me but had been held back at least once. He was a freakin beast. The kid he was picking on was in like 5th grade or something. I'm serious, Earl was probably pushing 200 lbs and this kid might have weighed in at 70 on a good day. I started cracking on Earl and everyone was laughing. They were all afraid of him but though he was an idiot so enjoyed what I was saying. Now I know I probably shouldn't have egged him on like that but I was done with him and I was the second biggest in the class so most able to stand up to him. Knew I could take him in an open fight and figured if it came to that I would see it coming. What I didn't see coming was the two punches to the face he threw right there in the bus while I was looking at someone else.

What Earl didn't see coming was me laughing in his face because it hurt so little. He did split my lip but it didn't bruise at all. The bus driver stopped right there and kicked him off. Earl was suspended for a week and for a month wasn't allowed to ride the bus. Only time I clearly won a fight without even raising my hands.

Jim H said...

Happy Birthday Helen! I'm just popping over from "Matter of Fact" - hope you have a great 40th.

Annie K said...

Happy birthday Helen (and yes, I understand the Hungarian temperment. Jon's still getting used to it.)

You've accomplished a lot in your life. I mean Jesus saved but he didn't salsa in the grocery isles. Now THAT's somethin'!

katdish said...

Aw, Helen. You're the best!

Happy Birthday, my friend!

Kelli said...

Happy Birthday to you!!! Happy Birthday to you!!! Happy Birthday, dearest Helen!!! Happy Birthday to you!!! (sang in my Kentucky twang ;-))

Helen you never cease to make me laugh! I LOVE your stories and missed you so much while you were gone. Please tell me you got a service contract with your new computer!

By the way, did I miss the costume party?!?!

Intense Guy said...

Over from Sherri's. Happy Birthday!

Trudy said...

Stopping by from Sherri's to say Happy Birthday to you Helen! I hope you have a blessed day.

I love this post, God is so good. When you couldn't fight, He stepped in on your behalf!

bman said...

HAPPY BDAY HELEN!

I meant to swing by this morning as I was commenting behind you on everything, but I got tired, and your bday lasts all day, so I figured I was safe!

Jeanne Damoff said...

Happy Birthday, Helen! I'm sure you're aware that many who love you are announcing your special day on their blogs. It's like a great big cyberparty. No doubt they're all wearing costumes in your honor, too.

As for the bully business, I was the small kid who was picked on, and I had a tough friend (maybe she was Hungarian?) who always stood up for me. When I was in 3rd grade and she was in 4th, two 6th grade bullies (both boys) threatened me and she said, "You'll have to fight me first." They took off on their bicycles. I've never forgotten it (obviously), and have a deep appreciation for the stand-in-the-gappers. Thanks for being one of those!

Candace Jean July 16 said...

Accomplished nothing?? You silly, silly Hungarian. You are so well versed, that when I look over your twittersations, most of them fly right over my head. You know books, movies, and people. I am so proud to call you friend!

Happy, happy birthday, half-Hungarian Helen! You will always be my Attila.

oh to be 40 again...sigh

Billy Coffey said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HELEN!!!

R. Holloway said...

A very HAPPY BIRTHDAY to YOU from Florida.... :-)

Eric von Mizener said...

Happy Birthday, Helen. God grant you many years!

Marni said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! The world became a better place 40 years ago today. And the internet is definitely a better place because of you ;-)

Great big hugs to you. I hope it's a super day :-)

Love ya!

Marni

Big Al said...

Happy Birthday.

Janice Garrison said...

Happy Birthday Helen, You are just a young pup, I'm 20 years your senior, but shhh...everyone thinks I'm 39 :)

I was directed to your site by Peter P. and I must say I enjoyed reading your blog. I plan on making return visits.

God bless!

blognut said...

Happy Birthday!

Rebecca on The Homefront said...

Happy Birthday, Helen! And I'd say you've had quite the accomplishment for someone not claiming divine status...you have loved many people, and earned their love in return.

Hope your birthday is a wonderful one!

Alix said...

Happy happy birthday, Helen. I followed you over here from Candy's blog and got halfway through your post before I scrolled back up to the top to click the follow button. Yep. Didn't even make it to the bottom of the post before I was completely smitten.

So happy to make your acquaintance - and on such a proud and momentous occasions! 40 smackeroos!

Well God bless you and keep you and supply you with at least 40 more, and hopefully 50 or 60!

Now what's all this about Salsa dancing in the grocery aisle?

Stacey said...

Happy Birthday, Helen! Hope you've had a great day.
I came over to give you birthday wishes and found a little bit of a coincidence in your post. Today is also my dad's birthday. Your post had a lot to say about fighting. Despite the fact that my dad turned 69 today, he still gets in fights frequently, perhaps trying to relive his glory days as a state arm wrestling champion.
Anyway, happy birthday to you and to my dad!

Mary Ann said...

Happy Birthday Helen!! I hope it has been a great one.

Accomplish nothing....what!?!?! I have to say that my first thought was in line with Annie's. Do you have ANY idea how much better my day would be if I saw someone salsa dancing down the grocery aisle?! I can't even imagine the number of smiles you have caused with that and that's only the beginning. I bet your mom would have your tail for a thought like that! Geeesh.

We love you Helen!!!

Nicole O'Dell said...

HAPPY BIRthday!

Be blessed!

Gabrielle Eden said...

Happy Birthday!

Helen said...

Thank you for your kind Birthday wishes.

I am sorry if I left you with the impression that I was depressed about turning 40. The comment about accomplishing nothing at 40 compared to Jesus at 33 was tongue in cheek. Who could compete with saving the world?

I am the youngest of seven cousins. When they'd turn 25, I'd tease them about turning a quarter of a century old. When they'd turn 33, I'd say "Jesus saved the world from Sin and Death at 33....So tell, me...What are YOUR plans...." Yeah, I'm a hoot. I was just turning the joke around on myself is all. Sorry if it came out maudlin instead.

Mark said...

Happy birthday

Santos Samayoa aka SantZ, Chato...hey it's still me said...

sorry I'm late...but I guess you can say I'm early for next year...HAPPY BIRTHDAY HELEN!!