ďHow could you let that happen? How?Ē my sister cried out as she slammed the door to her room.
How? How had I let it happen? She was right to be angry with me. I knew that. Itís why I didnít yell back at her. Itís why I didnít explain away my actions.
Here, I better start at the beginning. Itís much easier to explain if I start there:
At the high school my sister and I attend, weíre known as PKs Ė Preacherís Kids. Our father is the pastor at the largest church in our hometown, Relling, Nebraska. Some of the students at the school are just playing when they make fun of our dad being a pastor, but other kids see our father as a threat to the community, pushing his moral beliefs onto the local law enforcement rulebooks and challenging parents to hold teens responsible for their actions.
Two weeks ago, two members of the football team started spreading rumors about my sister. I heard about the rumors and, knowing they were as far away from reality as any rumor ever started, chose to ignore them and concentrate on a science project I had been assigned. The rumor spread, people began to believe it, and looking back on my inaction, I now realize that I should have defended my sisterís honor and integrity when the rumor first started. In reality, I was scared. Iím not much of a fighter, and I feared confronting the two football players because I was concerned about my own safety. Iím rather fond of my face and let that emotional attachment influence my decision to not act when I should have defended my own sister.
When my sister found out about the nasty rumor that had been circulating the campus she was furious. When she found out that I knew about the untruths being told about her, and that I failed to defend her good name, she was devastated.
Now, leaning upon the doorway to her bedroom, I pictured her lying on her bed, hugging her pillow, assaulting it with her tears. With a devastated heart, I searched for the words to speak. How could I justify my inaction? I couldnít. But I needed to talk to my sister, needed her to know I cared. Choosing my words carefully, I began to speak:
ďI know you donít even want to hear my voice right now. But I need to tell you the truth. You are my sister. You know more about me than anyone in the world. I like to think the same is true with me knowing you better than anyone else in the world. I know the rumor you heard hurt youÖhurt you a lot. And I know I was wrong not to confront the people who started it. But there were two reasons why I didnít confront the guys who did it. The first one is the only legitimate one: I knew that anyone who knew the real Jessie would not believe the rumor. The second reason was that I was scared. I was worried about my own safety. That wonít happen again, Jessie. Seeing you hurting like this is not something I ever want to see again. I promise you, Iíll defend your name no matter what kind of pounding I get. You have my word on that.Ē
Jessieís door remained closed. I heard nothing but silence. Apparently, she had decided to shun my explanation. I began to walk toward my bedroom when suddenly Jessieís door opened up. I suddenly felt Jessieís arms wrapped around me, hugging me tight as she sobbed into my shoulder. And I will never forget the words she began to repeat over and over: ďYouíre the best brother anyone could ever have.Ē
Three days later, Jessie said those same words to me as I lay in hospital bed after a severe beating by two former Relling High School football superstars. I responded with, ďI canít imagine why God would give me a sister as great as you. Thanks for forgiving me even when I didnít deserve it.Ē It was on that night, in that hospital room, that I came to the conclusion PKs rule, no matter what anyone else thinks!