Every day I walked to school; then back home for lunch… then back to school, then back home for the day. For those nearly three years of middle school, I wondered what would happen next. I wondered who would step in and save me from being trashed, stolen, ridiculed for no reason, other than I was a ‘good girl’, the ‘ditch-digger’s daughter’. Other than my mother was too ill to associate in the social intricacies of the small town, a Peyton Place, if you will… Where such social intricacies and gossip mattered. They said they were Christians. Yet they didn’t act like it, even those who went to church… I couldn’t enter the church without ridicule…I saw hypocrisy, and went elsewhere… And then, there was my dad being a brute to not just the members of our family; yet, to people in the town who got on his nerves or who he thought were pansies.
Little did I know, I had not a snowballs’ chance in hell to be saved from ridicule, neither from harm. So, I prayed every moment I could. I asked my Maker to help me forgive my enemies. Yet, I also knew that most people were poor in an intangible way. They wanted me to break, so they could resolve their miseries. They wanted to wipe off the smile I held quite often on my face. Perhaps erasing my incredible sense of humor, as well. What they hadn’t thought about, nor banked on was… Humor many times comes from understanding cruelty. I witnessed cruelty before age four and began reckoning with it soon after. So much so, my sense of humor is as strong as my convictions and my willingness to help others… even if I’ve never met those I intend to help. Even if those I’ve never met live long after or are born long after my death… it is still my intention to be caring for those who I’ll never meet in the far-off future.---Jody-Lynn Reicher