"Fat-so,” hissed Billie-the-Bully while brandishing his pocketknife. “I’m going to split you open and pull out your guts!”
I gasped, choking back the horror. This boy sat in front of me in the third grade. Billie had succeeded his intimidation efforts and daily slugged me in the arm. I didn’t tell anyone about what had happened to me in class in the year of 1962.
I talked to God, and asked Him to deliver me like He did the Israelites in the Bible stories. He did three years later! Even in my younger years, the Lord was training me and seasoning me. Those were hard lessons when I was young and shy, but extremely necessary for my encounters later on in life.
In my mid-thirties, I worked at a convenience store in a small rural town. An older female employee and I were closing one night when a rusty white van pulled up to the store.
A young, blonde female struggled to get out on the passenger side. It was obvious she was in danger. She broke free of her abusive husband, ran into the store, and begged us to help her. Her husband was drunk, drugged, and threatening to kill her.
We sprang into action by locking the door as the husband bashed the windows. In the days before the emergency phone number 911, we had to call the sheriff’s department in another town using long distance. They in turn contacted our small town police to alert them of the trouble we were experiencing at the store. All calls were to go through the sheriff.
Good Samaritans saw our need and alerted the town cop. The law arrived sooner than waiting for the relaying of messages through the sheriff’s department. Even then, the abusive husband had left and the police drove the young woman home to where she lived in another town.
The episodes of that night subsided. The young woman must have reconciled with her abusive husband, because this man came back to the store three times while I was scheduled to work. He didn’t buy anything, but came with the intentions to frighten me.
Once he brought a huge Great Dane into the store. I informed him that he would need to leave the dog outside. He bristled at my request, but complied.
The next week the man revealed that he had a gun. With a dark brooding sneer, he stated that he liked using the weapon.
Lastly, he accosted me in front of a storage shed as I emptied pop cans late one night. He showed me an eight-inch hunting knife as he wielded it close to my face.
My mind raced back to my experiences with Billie-the-Bully. Though I was quaking on the inside, I found a quiet resolve within myself. Every time the man tried to intimidate me, I coolly looked him in the eye. I showed no fear, and I refused to be intimidated by his steely gaze. I wasn’t sure what would be the outcome of those confrontations, but time elapsed.
Since working with a wide range of children, these last fifteen years has brought many of my experiences full circle and “my sweet revenge.” My husband and I worked with children in church. One of the girls turned out to be the niece of Billie-the-Bully. We instilled behavior ethics and how God wanted His young ladies to act.
The young, blonde, woman married to the abusive husband, divorced him after having three sons with him. The ex-husband is in prison and the mother is remarried.
My husband and I converted our garage into a children’s center for working with the-at-risk children in our neighborhood. The abusive man’s three sons regularly show up for kids’ club twice a week. I was privileged this spring to lead the eldest son, now a teenager, to the Lord in our garage-turned-children’s center. We continue to work with the boys. This is “my sweet revenge”!