I had to go back before I wrote this and try to search how many posts, blogs, and tweets had come my way but I did nothing about. Let’s just say there was an extremely embarrassing amount. Every time someone sent me a tweet, or posted on their blog about bullying I was angry about the act, but I still did nothing. Maybe it was because my kids are no longer kids. Maybe it was because even when they were they didn’t bully people or get bullied (my oldest son is a professional cage fighter so I could be wrong on this one). Maybe it’s because I haven’t heard about any of the youth in our congregation being bullied or bullying others but for whatever reason I somehow didn’t think the posts, tweets, or social media groups applied to me…until December 1st 2013, the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend.
A friend sent me a text which I was only able to read part of at the time. Our praise team was taking part in a community choir festival involving multiple congregations and musicians from various communities. I didn’t want to be that guy reading text messages during the event (although I was that guy taking pictures and posting them during the event). The only part of the text I saw was: ‘call Popeye, his daughter hun’. I consider myself a pretty smart guy so I figured I could determine the full message by just what I read but nothing seemed to make sense. And the thing that did make sense didn’t make sense…so I read the rest of the text whilst standing with everyone at the festival to sing Silent Night. Unfortunately, I was right. Popeye, a friend, part of a motorcycle ministry called Michael’s Marauders, had a teenage daughter named Faith. Some of the Marauders and their family members had visited CrossRoads for a weekend in mid-September, their third annual visit with our CrossRoads congregation. Many of the Marauders I knew from when we were all part of the same congregation in Northern, VA where they are based. I had just met Popeye’s family including Faith during the September visit. Although I did not know Faith that well, it was still painful and shocking to read the text in its entirety: ‘call Popeye, his daughter hung herself and died. I just got off the phone with him.’
It turned out that Faith took her own life as a result of bullying. I can’t imagine how bad a teenage girl with a loving family and friends has to be treated to be pushed to the point where she feels she cannot live another day. I cannot imagine what Popeye, his wife, Faith’s siblings, or her friends are going through at having lost someone they loved so much. For me, every time I look at her picture my heart literally breaks with pain for Faith, what she must have went through, and for her family, what they are going through now. But I have to be honest. I also get extremely ticked off! I feel like I am boiling with rage! All over the world children are dying from curable and incurable diseases, from hunger, from adults that want to hurt them and do unspeakable things to them. They should not be dying because of the way they are treated by other children. #NOMORE
One thing I have always felt strongly about and still do is that with all of the national and global resources available, no child, or adult, should ever have to die from hunger. Now I can add to that, that no child should ever be treated in such a way that they feel their only recourse is to stop living. So from now on, I will not just read, but will retweet and repost everything that comes my way that will help put a stop to bullying. I will aggressively respond to those who feel bullied and even more aggressively call out children who do it, and parents and school districts who allow it. This isn’t a church thing, this isn’t a race thing, this isn’t a political thing or a separation of church and state or separation of 99% and 1% thing. This is a pure and simple “have some freaking decency and respect for human life thing”. #NOMORE
This entry was posted on December 5, 2013 at 09:37 and is filed under Bullying, Community, Culture, Faith, Family, Life, Love, Real Talk, Taboo Topics, Uncategorized with tags bullying, contemporary, faith, Family, living, love, no more, nomore, Real Talk. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.