When I was in school, I was bullied a lot. I was smarter than most of the kids, and I was very high-energy. I was called names, pushed around, thrown in the bushes, had my head slammed in a locker, got beat-up walking home from school, etc.

At that time, I was smaller than most of the bullies and I was taught not to fight or retaliate. These bullies were rough country boys and they thought they were the biggest and toughest around; in many ways they were.

But, there were two individuals that befriended me and became my protectors. One was a junior when I was a freshman. He would give me a ride home and make sure no one bothered me. Another was a star on the basketball team. We would hang-out and do the normal things friends do. He made me feel like I belonged. He didn’t like the bullies either.

Both of them stood against the bullies and kept me from feeling abandoned and fearful. About 20 years later I went back to that little town to visit. I came across two of the worst bullies of my youth at a public auction. I recognized them right away, but it took a minute for them to recognize me. When they did, they seemed a little frightened; and a lot smaller than I recall.

After watching for a little while, I realized that these guys had done nothing with their lives. They were still the emotionally and intellectually small people they were in School. They hadn’t grown beyond the ignorance they displayed to me all those years ago.

Meanwhile, the two young men that had befriended and helped me owned successful businesses and had grown to be respected professional people and community leaders. I relate this story so you can understand that bullies are not the smartest people on the planet. If you take them seriously, they will be empowered to continue in their ignorance rather than correct it.

If you are being bullied, please don’t suffer in silence. Look for people that will stand-up against ignorance. Know that you are valuable and loved, even if someone tries to tell you otherwise. Never give up. Be one of those individuals that refuses to accept negative input. Perhaps the last laugh will be yours when you succeed while the bullies fail.

“All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’” (Isaiah 41:11-13)

Be yourself, do what you love, be a nerd, be an inventor, be unique; just BE and know you are endowed with the seeds of greatness. … to be continued.

Blessings and Peace to You All,

Fr. David+

Rev. Dr. David Bridges is the pastor at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Grove. He can be reached at frdavid@standrewsgrove.org. St. Andrew's worship service is at 10 a.m., every Sunday, and broadcast on KWXC 88.9 FM at 5 p.m. on Saturday and 7:30 a.m. on Sunday.