I couldn't be apart of the in-crowd in high school because my family couldn't financially support the in-crowd lifestyle for me, and that is OK - now! I graduated high school in 1998, and thanks to current social media like Facebook; within the last five years, I've be reconnecting with old high school classmates. Some of them say hi, and we exchange the normal "what'cha been up to?" pleasantries and then I never hear from them again. It's sad, but you move on. Then there are others who realize this time apart has really been an eye-opener because you can now build real friendships and relationships with the real you, and not the teenager who's tried on 5 different personalities.
So, I'd like to share a Facebook message that I received a couple of weeks ago now from a high school classmate who was a year ahead of me having graduated Class of '97. I personally do not recall this individual ever directly causing me any pain and suffering, but he was part of the upperclassmen who should have been setting an example to us (younger students).
I've been meaning to apologize to you. I wanted to say I'm sorry for just standing by and letting people in high school treat you like crap. I know this is too little too late, and I also know that you will want to respond saying not to worry about it etc. Still, you deserve an apology. I am so glad that the person you are today is a confident, intelligent woman; thank you for putting those people in their place by rising above the insults and pain. I'm sorry I never bothered to reach out and be a friend. The way I see it, you could have just been a victim to the circumstances, but you seem to have done just the opposite. Thank you for overcoming; I think you are heroic.
My initial response (several days after processing his message):
I actually wasn't planning on responding the way you thought I was. I was almost going to sarcastically note that maybe you woke up one with some residual guilt and that this was your way in feeling better about yourself. But I truly believe that it is within God's grace for us to (even if it's years later) to see who were we and be able to forgive. I think having my daughter and becoming a parent put life into perspective for me to realize that just because I had a rough time growing-up doesn't mean she will have it rough. I made peace with all of that negativity and gloom that lingered from my teens. It's never too late to develop friendships. True friends come the least likely of places. Thank you!
His follow-up response:
I think we all live with residual guilt for things in our lives. If I was ever directly responsible for causing you pain, for that I deeply apologize. I know that I was at least indirectly responsible for some. My motive, though residual guilt does exist, is to make amends: confess and repent. I'm glad to hear that you have made peace with the negativity from your teens. I could tell that you had done so from the minimal communication we have had. I do think it's heroic and encouraging. It's a shame that you had to endure the things you endured in high school. I'm sorry, not in a pity way toward you but in a shameful way towards offenders and bystanders, that you were treated as a "less- than". I praise God that He has healed your pain and made you stronger.
Indeed, I do attribute much of the peace and healing to a new light within me in a born-again situation that I experienced in college. Although, I do still feel hurt and pain from various situations... I know the pain will not last long and for that I am very thankful. So, please if you were a bully or someone who was silent during the teenage torment; it is never too late to forgive and forget.