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!