Lily and the Bully

Lily and the Bully

Lome Louw

Illustration: Helena van der Nest

Lily woke up early: today is their class excursion to the Zoo! She is so excited! They needn’t even take their schoolbags along to school, only something to munch. In their food parcel there must be a sandwich and a bottle of frozen water; and today Mom can pack a surprise as well. Lily has a very good hunch what Mom has in mind: Smarties – her favourite!

She quickly dresses herself in her casual clothes, brushes her hair and ties it in two cheeky ponytails. She applies suntan lotion to her skin and puts her hat on her head. In the kitchen her food parcel is ready. Mom pasted a red heart, together with her name on her parcel. Underneath there is a note:

“Enjoy your outing, Lily.

Love you

Mom xxx” 

Lily sits down to breakfast and prays: “Thank you Jesus for this new day. Thanks so much that we can visit the zoo and thank you for a mommy that loves me so much. Please guard us today that nobody will get hurt. Amen.”

Mom stands in the kitchen door, a little smile on her face. “Good morning, Lily, hope you slept well. Are you ready for your outing?”

“Good morning, Mom. I slept very well indeed and yes, I am ready to go to school. PLEASE Mom, do hurry up. Thanks for my food parcel!” Lily gives her mom a hug.

“You probably know what your surprise is. When you eat a yellow Smartie, think about all the animals with yellowish colours, like giraffe and lions.  Brown Smarties must remind you of brown antelope and wild dogs. A green Smartie points to reptiles such as snakes and crocodiles. When eating a blue Smartie, remember the animals that frequent the water, for instance penguins and fish. Isn’t it wonderful that the Lord made everything different, but all of us share one Earth?” Mom ponders.

“But what about the pink and red Smarties. Mommy?” Lily asks.

“Well, maybe some of your friends will not have a surprise in their food parcels. Then you can surprise them with smarties: share the pink ones with the girls and the red ones with the boys,” Mom replies.

On arriving at school, Lily’s teacher counts all the children and gives a number to each child. They have to queue according to their numbers. She explains that this was a safety measure to ensure that she can keep count of them more easily. She also explains that they must stay close to her so as to not get lost.

Willy stands directly in front of Lily. He does not seem excited. Lily cannot understand this. ”Hi Willy, aren’t you excited to see all the animals? I cannot wait!” Lily babbles.

“Leave me alone!” Willy pushes Lily and she stumbles, thus moving out of the row.

The teacher turns around and glares at Willy and Lily. “Today we all have to work together as a team. Lily, do not disobey the rules and stay in the row.”

Lily hates it when their teacher scolds her. She bites her lip and tries to hold back her tears. Why is Willy such a bully?

When the children embark on the bus, Lily deliberately chooses to sit behind Willy. She plans to ask him what the matter is: if he tells her, she would share her Smarties with him. Maybe it won’t be so bad to share her Smarties with Willy the bully after all.

The bus departs. Lily bends over and tries to get Willy’s attention. He becomes agitated and shouts at her: “You stupid girl again. Leave me alone!” Willy’s voice is so loud that everybody on the bus turns to look at Lily. She feels ashamed and moves back in her chair. Why is he so mean?

At long last the bus stops at the zoo. Everybody pushes to get out first. “It is no use to push each other around, you still have to stand in our number sequence,” the teacher reminds them.  Willy is mean and puts his foot out, tripping Lily as she steps down from the bus. She falls and her food parcel launches through the air. The heart on her food parcel gets torn when Willy treads on it. “I hope you will stop pestering me now, you stupid girl,” Willy sneers at her.

Lily’s knee and elbow burns, but more so her tears. Teacher helps her to get up and presses her hand. “Don’t cry Lily, its OK. Maybe Willy is upset because he does not have a food parcel. When one’s heart aches, you often want to hurt other people’s hearts as well. Did you know that?” her teacher asked Lily.

Lily thinks about her teacher’s words and suddenly realises what the matter is. Willy is angry and furious at everyone who brought food, because he does not have a parcel. She realises that his heart must be as broken as the one her mother put on her food parcel.

“I will be back just now, teacher, because I think my knee needs a band aid. But I have something to do first,” Lily explains and runs towards Willy.

She stands in front of Willy, her heart beating rapidly, but she knows that when Jesus is in one’s heart, one need not be afraid of bullies. “Willy, I know that you do not have a food parcel. My Mom packed an extra sandwich for me. Will you share my Smarties with me as well, because I do not like to eat alone?” Lily’s voice quivers a bit, but she looks Willy straight in the eyes.

“You are the bravest girl in class. No one has ever returned to me three times, not even the boys. I am so sorry that I got you into trouble with our teacher. And just look at your knee. But why do you want to share your food with me?” he asked.

Lily instinctively knows that the right answer now is of the utmost importance: it is now or never. She remembers her Mom’s words about the smarties. “Willy, when you eat a yellow Smartie, does it taste different from the other coloured ones?” she ventures.

Willy is slightly caught off guards. “No. Actually it is stupid to make them different colours, because they all taste just the same. But what on earth are you trying to say?”

“You see, Willy, when God created us, He created us to be good. God never intended for us to be bad persons. It is people who choose to be good or bad, nasty or friendly. On the inside we all look just about the same, but we all look different on the outside –  just like the smarties. Will you please share my Smarties with me today?” Lily pleaded.

Nobody has ever explained this truth to Willy so clearly. And it is so true: he himself makes the choice for being good or bad, nasty or friendly. On the inside we all look alike. “Lily, I have never done such a thing, but I would like to share your food parcel with you,” and Willy smiles at her. He feels a weight lifting from his heart and his anger dissipates.

Lily smiles back at Willy. She has just made a new friend.

“Thank you Lord Jesus for my Smarties and that You gave me the courage to talk to Willy. Amen” she prays in her thoughts whilst she and Willy walk in their row, enjoying the zoo animals.

Bible verses: From The Message

1 Cor. 13:1 “If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.”

1 Cor. 13:4-5 “If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake  to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Love doesn’t strut.

Doesn’t have a swelled head,

Doesn’t force itself upon others,

Isn’t always ‘me first’,

Doesn’t fly off the handle,

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn’t revel when others grovel

1Cor. 13:6-7

(Love) takes pleasure in the flowering truth,

Puts up with anything.

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.

Love never fails (dies).”

Originally published in My Child and I, Autumn 2014


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