Easter Sunday and everything else

It's always the Holidays that remind me of my Mother.  She was so giving and tried always to make a special effort to make everyone feel special.


Easter brought with it, baskets, eggs, dinner, family and insight into the spiritual nature of Man.


Although I came from a Methodist background, I was raised in a predominantly Jewish neighborhood surrounded by many different races and cultures and because of that I was exposed to a myriad of religions from Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism you name it.  We were a very diverse cultural melting pot for which I am ever grateful.


What I learned from this was no matter what your religion (or non religion) we are all on the planet sharing it together.  I am constantly amazed when people fight, when people use religion as a battle ground and most amazingly when they point out the "lesser" in someone rather than pointing out their strengths.  What does that accomplish?


That was a rhetorical question.  I see what it accomplishes, news stories, gossip, fear, control, diversion from the truth and in the most ultimate cases...war and even death.


This goes not just for religion but for many topics that are filling the news, gay marriage, racism, politics, etc. etc.


Take for example the bullying that is so prevalent today.  Well folks, let me tell you, this 6'4" guy was bullied in elementary school as a skinny, dorky kid who had a big gap between his front teeth.


I've always been one to speak my mind and stand up for what I think is right.  I distinctly remember a rift between the "cool" kids and the "not so cool" kids.  With the "not so cool" kids being picked on, ridiculed and belittled for something as ridiculous as wearing jeans that were out of style or becasue their family didn't have as much money as someone else.


Perhaps it was because I didn't understand this rift that I spoke out they way I did. But I simply couldn't tolerate someone being belittled because they were "different" and because of that I spoke my mind, quite loudly at times (and still do).  I wanted to help those who for some reason couldn't do it for themselves.


My friends were very diverse in background, always have been.  Different races, different religions, different everything.  The bottom line for me once again was...we were all people.  So what if someone had blonde hair or darker skin? They had a heart that beat like mine, a mind that dreamed and passion for life. They were my friends.


I moved from a private school to a much larger public school and because of my stance of "helping" others, I quickly became a point of attack for a couple of people (whom I later realized must have been really hurting in some way). 


Even during those frequent bullying episodes (some of which lasted into high school), I can remember asking myself why were they doing this?  Why were these guys so mean? I just couldn't understand why everyone simply didn't like everyone else.  It just didn't make any sense whatsoever.


So what did this bullying do to me?


I should say...what did this do FOR me?


It made me stronger.


It taught me that those who strike out usually have something to hide or have something that is hurting them deep down inside and they have the need to divert that emotion and pain toward something else otherwise that pain and emotion will eat them up.  They have no outlet for what they are dealing with and in turn lash out at targets that may not have any connection with that internal pain in an effort to either divert attention from themselves or in an effort to make themselves feel better by belittling or ridiculing another. By doing so they then "rise up above" the person they've belittled or attacked, even if just for a few minutes.  It justifies them.


In my life I've become the target of a few such attacks.  In them I always look for the truth, I always try to look behind the immediate attack and find the source from whence it comes.  


I learned to do this because the truth as seen by the masses isn't always the full or real truth and the visage of the person doing the attack isn't always who they really are.


They can be more aggressive than they appear or as I said they can be lashing out from a deep pain but continuing and repeating that cycle of action from which they so desperately wish to escape.


Is there a hidden agenda, a hidden truth?


Why isn't the full story related?   Why? Because it's not "news worthy"and there wouldn't be a "story."


Friends and family who know me have often asked if I was angry due to the bullying and the attacks in my life.


The answer is no.  Confused sometimes, but I'm honestly more sad and empathetic for those who attacked, because I know their pain...is greater than anything I could ever imagine.


There comes a time to let the truth shine and as the saying says "The truth will out."


So on this Easter day I am grateful to those in my life, family, friends, supporters.  I'm grateful to my mother who instilled in me a sense of gratitude for life.  She and my father taught me that "helping" was one of the most blessed gifts...I truly believe one gets more from giving than they do from getting, at least I do.


It's funny, a few years ago someone from my school days reached out to me.  I hadn't spoken to this person in years and when they finally contacted me they were so wonderfully gracious about my success. So supportive, so insightful.  The irony is that this person forgot (or so it seemed) that they were one of the very people who belittled and "bullied" me in school, who during those years, made my life a living hell for a few months at a time.  After they contacted me I distinctly remember asking myself..."well, Barbour, what do ya do now?"  


I mentioned this to a friend who suggested I completely ignore the person, not say a word and in fact pretend that I didn't remember who they were. "That'll teach 'em." 


What did I do?  I greeted them with open arms, never to this day have mentioned the past and we became fast friends.  The past is gone, it lingers only in memory but had I chosen to take my friends advice and ignore that person, I would have been keeping that past alive in me.  I have no desire to live in pasts, I look to the future. 


Nothing that has happened to me will ever deter me from enjoying the wonders of life, from watching the beauty of my children grow as the years roll on.  


Time passes, life changes and we do grow, it's how we deal with those changes that is the test.  What will you do?


I'm grateful for my life.  I'm grateful for the obstacles because it makes the wonderful times even that much greater.


This is a holiday of rebirth and I encourage each of you to look on things a little differently.  Those whom you might have before brushes aside, look at them anew.  Those to whom you hold so dear, hold them closer, to those whom you've hurt even inadvertently, regain their trust.


We are all on this planet together.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could live in harmony?  Tall task?  Sure...but why not try.  It might just make our lives a little bit better and I bet we'll have fun in the process.

Comments

Liz said…
I was SO impressed with this post! Now I not only admire your singing and your acting, but also your attitudes and values. I really agree with everything you said, but, I don't feel that I've always been able to react to unpleasantness with the grace and kindness you espouse. My anger and/or outrage seem to get in my way.

I was picked on and teased in school, too, and it wasn't until high school that I was able to join in with some people to form quite a tight knit group. Ironically, it was music and theatre that helped make us so close. We all just got together for the wedding of the daughter of two of my best friends! Getting older is weird!

Good luck with all your endeavors, and I hope "Rebecca" works out well in the Fall.
Coming back for a family reunion, I just read your post and found it so meeningfull and so true with what I just lived with my cousin's friend. I have always been very sensitive to other's sufferings and pains and I totally can relate to what you just wrote. I always felt that the ones that laugh too loud are often the same who hide the biggest wounds. Growing older it's easier to reach out and understand and in a lighter way I always drink to the health of the people I love and who loves me and to the health of the one who dislike or hate me. It's pretty much selfish and better for my own health. As I love your voice and as a french woman, I'll drink to your health and your success. With love from France... :-)
This is beautifully written, and as a teacher and a girl who was bullied for being fat and not rich in an affluent neighborhood, this strikes close to home. I didn't realized I was bullied at the time, however, because most of the time I didn't like the kids who were bullying me so unless they hurt me, I forgot about it the next day. But as an adult, I do see elements of my personality that was affected. When I teach my kids about bullying, I use myself, which shocks them. It's horribly tragic how free-flowing it is today, especially with Twitter and Facebook to exacerbate it.
AOBDeb said…
Well said, Jim. I'm sorry you were bullied. Thank goodness it didn't make you bitter! You obviously forgave your tormentors. Hopefully they can forgive themselves, too. Just remember those bullies learned their behavior from someone-probably their parents. Maybe we need to make those parents take anti-bullying classes? I just wish more people would look at life and the world the same way you do!
Rachel Li said…
I am reading all these past posts. This one really impress me! I already know you have good voice, and now I see a good heart. That thrill me. The world needs good voice, but more for a good heart! I agree with ur values, keep it going, and hope everything works out fine, looking forward Rebecca in 2013.

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