There have been many heroes in my life, but the one who stands out above the others is Brother Roy.
It was Tuesday, and Brother Roy would teach my confirmation class that night. Later that evening, as I walked down the darkening street toward church, I started to think about the day I just had. For starters, let’s just say I cannot go even one day without being bullied.
For instance, I was sitting on the floor waiting for my teacher to open the door to class and a girl walked up to me and said, “Can you hold my breakfast while I go to the restroom?”
I wanted to be polite, so I said yes. When she came out, she grabbed her food and walked away without even saying “Thank you.”
Her friend pointed to me and asked, “Who’s that?” to which she replied, “just some dork that held my food.”
They laughed and walked away. I thought of something mean I could say back to her, but I knew I did not want to sink to her level.
My thoughts drifted to earlier that day in ceramics class when one of my group members broke my project on purpose. School is just one big torture chamber for me.
If that wasn’t bad enough, we had a timed write in English, and just before I started, the boy who sits next to me grabbed my pencil and snapped it in half. I snapped with it. I felt like punching him but realized punching a kid over a pencil sounded pretty stupid. Now, that I think about it, it was kind of funny. I had to borrow a pencil from a girl next to me and that knocked my writing time in half. I suppose, like the Dr. Martin Luther King, I don’t think it makes sense to fight bullies with violence.
My walk ended at the church, and there was Brother Roy sitting at the head of the class. He had on his Niners jersey and he was, to be blunt, a pretty big guy. He had that Santa Claus shape with a jolly, kind look on his face that reassured me I was in a safe environment.
We broke into groups, said our opening prayers and had our daily lesson about Christ. I almost fell asleep, except for the part when he said, “I want you to pray for someone that really needs help, except the Raiders, because not even God can save them.” Brother Roy is hilarious.
But then things started to get serious. He told us about this one sister he used to know. (I’ll call her Erica.) Erica was a sister at the church and was one of the nicest sisters Roy had ever met. She got cancer, and Brother Roy told us that before she passed, she taught him a lot about death.
He was talking to her on the phone one night and she said, “I have made a lot of enemies in my life,so I called all of them up. Some of them were people I had hurt, and some were people who have hurt me. And I said to them either ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘I forgive you.’ ”
When Brother Roy asked her why she did that, Erica said, “So when I die, I know that there is no one left out there that I have hurt, and there would be no one crying in remorse for what they have done to me. I would die in peace.”
She died that night while she was on the phone with Roy. After he finished the story, Brother Roy said to us, “I hope none of you die tonight, but if you do, I hope you have made peace with your enemies, so that you can die in peace.”
Then it was time for closing prayer, and I prayed that I didn’t die that day, because then I knew I wouldn’t do so in peace. Class ended and the church bells began to ring. “You’re all dismissed, Brother Roy said. “May peace be with you.”
I went to sleep that night thinking about everything Brother Roy said. I woke up ready for school. That day was one of the greatest days in my life. I went to every single person who had bullied me the day before and said, “I forgive you.” I also went to the people I have done wrong to and said, “Please forgive me.” That night I went to sleep knowing that, if I died, I would do so in peace.”
This is why Brother Roy is my hero. It is not only because he teaches us about the Bible, it is because he taught me about life. He has done this for over 30 years for over a thousand students. I hope, like me, the other kids that leave his class take something with them. Every week we learn something new that we can apply to our lives.
Brother Roy’s lessons will help me and others make this world a better place.