The Wounded Spirit

August 3, 2007 at 10:18 am (Uncategorized)

Recently, on vacation, I came across a book laying on the coffee table at my friend Faye’s house.  I picked it up and began to thumb through it and I knew I had to read it ALL!  Personally I think this book could just as easily be called Another Reason to Homeschool….

The book  took me back to my own schooldays, where I amazingly I was teased very little.  As I examine that fact now I can only credit it to one thing…humor. I was funny, laughter was my armor.  (And occasionally my weapon although I tired not to use it that way.)  I was not the most popular kid, but I always seemed to hang with them!  I also hung out with the "regular" kids and I tried to be friend with the "loser" kids.  I have always liked people and I liked everyone.  I wasn’t exactly the class clown, but I was comic relief in a tense situation.  Therefore kids seemed to like me in despite of my weight problem, lack of athletic ability and my so-so grades.  They liked me because I made them laugh. I didn’t like to see anyone get hurt or being teased.  I would put myself in a situation where I could have been the person getting teased to protect others.  When someone would start teasing me I knew how to get everyone laughing and could diffuse the situation.  Looking back I realize I must have been pretty smart! Though I never thought that then!  It was just what I did.

All this thinking and reading reminded me of Tim. 

Tim entered my life briefly in 5th grade.  I don’t know where he came from or really anything about him, other than the fact that EVERYONE was mean to him.  He was odd to say the least.  Thin, underfed, oddly dressed, dirty, smelly and a loud mouth.  I have to admit I really didn’t like him, but I felt sorry for him.  I decided, probably the first day of school, I was going to protect him.  We sat at tables of 5 kids to a table and I quickly positioned him on the end with me next to him.  Some days I regretted my decision because the kid stunk!  But, smelling him did me less harm than seeing him being tortured by other kids.  So I took care of him.   So for the 1st half of 5th grade I kept Tim close to me and protected him. I never really told anyone what I was doing, it was just something I did.  I read his assignments to him when he needed help.  I picked him for my team at PE, I told him to be quiet when he was bugging people, I gave him clues to answers he didn’t know (That may not have helped his grades!  LOL)  But, it kept him from being picked on! Then in the middle of the year we had an assignment to write a poem about rain.  To everyones surprise Tim turned in the most beautiful poem ever.  The teach stood in the front of the room and read it and Tim went up a couple notches with everyone.  I was so proud of him!  Wow, most of the time he didn’t even turn assignments in!  Then a few days later the teacher had him read the poem in front of the all school assembly!  He was BEAMING…Then the poem went out in the school newsletter…This kid was going places and he barley needed my protection anymore.  For about a week.  I will never forget THAT day.  Mrs Ayers our 5th grade teacher came wheeling a record player into the room.  She announced that she had a very important recording for us to hear.  We all sat at attention as she played it…Tim’s poem we had all gotten to know so well began to be recited from the record.  At first I was confused…How did they get Tim’s poem recored so quickly?  How did they get it recorded at all?  Then a sickening realization washed over me…Tim had copied the poem from the recording he found in the Library…  SIgh.  Mr. Ayers should have known better.  A she was a BIG woman of at least 350 pounds and I am sure had taken much verbal abuse in her own lifetime.  But she was MAD and Tim was done for!  The boys erupted in laughter first and then the girls chimed in.  I remember tears burning in my eyes.  There was nothing I could do anymore to help Tim.  He was ruined….The rest of the year would be a nightmare for him.  (We moved that Summer so I have no idea whatever happened to him.) At that age I could not understand why he let it go so far.  Why didn’t he admit to the teacher what he had done before the all school assembly?  Why did he let it go so far?  As an adult I know the answer.  This was the first time this kid had probably ever gotten any positive attention in his life.  No one cared about him.  No one liked him.  No one loved him.  I was thinking about this today…I bet if you asked Tim who his best friend was in grade school he would say ME!  This is so sad because I only tolerated him because I didn’t like seeing the way others treated him.  The rest of the year Tim was written off.  By the kids, the teachers, everyone….He got beat up.  He got belittled.  He was hated.  I tried to continue to be kind to him.  However, the 2nd half of the year was so much harder for both of us. I have no idea how (or if) he survived the rest of his school years.

I can honestly say I had not thought of Tim for years, until I started reading The Wounded Spirit by Frank Peretti.  Wow, what a book!  Frank Peretti the now famous author was a wounded spirit himself.  He was small, he had a medical condition that made him look odd and he was tortured by the other kids.  The only thing that saved him was his parents and their love for him and the Lord.  I really don’t want to tell too much about this book.  I want you all to read it yourself and deal with your own demons from childhood.  Maybe you were wounded, maybe you were the bully? (In all honesty we were all on all sides of this at some point in our lives.  I may have stuck up for Tim, put I know there were other kids I wounded by not speaking up, not including them or just plain ignoring them.)  In any case here are some quotes from the book that I hope will give you a desire to read it…

I was small and I talked funny, but that never mattered at home.  Mom and Dad always loved me and let me know that I was special, that I would grow up big and strong someday…..I believed them, and, really, we did all right.  And then..I had to go to school.

Going to Kindergarten was almost like being home…..As the year went on, however, the teasing began.

By the end of Kindergarten year, I’d had quite enough of school and didn’t want to return. (Emphasis mine.)

After all, the authorities in his life had made clear certain axioms: He had to be there. There was no choice.

To Tim…I pray you found the Lord somehow…I hope you found people to love you…I hope the little bit of compassion I showed you back in 5th grade meant something..I hope…

To everyone else…Read the book! It offers a lot more than just stories of kids who were wounded in childhood and carry those wounds today.  It has chapters titled Help for the Wounded, For Those Who Wounded, Things Could be Different & A Fresh Start.  These chapters have real solutions to heal wounds and give us hope for a better future.

He has shown you, O Man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you to do justly,
to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

Mic.6:8

 

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1 Comment

  1. CrossView said,

    Beautiful post. Very thought-provoking! I'll keep an eye out for the book…. =)

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