What an awful prank . . . but what an awesome ending to the story! Fairytale endings do happen. Whitney Kropp stood tall in the face of adolescent cruelty and turned the tables on her school’s social predators.
It’s reminiscent of the story of Joseph in the Bible. His brothers had sold him into slavery to get rid of him, but God led him through a series of events to make him second in command over Egypt. Joseph said to them “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good . . . ” (Genesis 50:20, NIV). One could argue that Whitney was even less culpable because Joseph had egged his brothers on – bragging to them about the grand dreams God had given to him. Another of Joseph’s faux pas was sporting his flashy coat of many colors, though you could chalk that one up to his father’s favoritism. Whitney’s only crime was not being cool like those who tried to torment her. Her story epitomizes our society’s awakening to the severity of the effect of bullying (I tried not to use this buzz word. Whatever.)
It seemed like the rest of the world stood with her. A Facebook page in support of Whitney has 145,400 likes. Local businesses gave her everything from a free makeover to a complimentary prom dress. The media got involved on a national scale. Whitney has gone from contemplating suicide to being on the top of the world, all within a very short period of time.
And we love it. We long for stories of the brokenhearted being put together. The hopeless being swarmed by hope. The perennial last finally becoming first.
But I love the way this all started. Before the visiting team at her homecoming cheered her on or the flowers had arrived all the way from California to her upstate Michigan town, she had to make a tough choice. Whitney had believed that she didn’t even have the support of her family. But after a night of tears from the would-be shattered teen, as Whitney tells the story, it was her sister who gave her the courage to stand tall. Like I mentioned in church last month, we often underestimate the grace of the people closest to us. Figuring this out in our homes and our churches could be a game changer, propelling us into making the right decisions when it feels like the cost would be too high.
However, there are a couple of differences between Whitney’s story and a fairytale. In fairytales people live happily ever after. No guarantee of that here. After standing tall in a tough situation she can expect even more troubling things to come. That’s just life. But, fairytales are fake. This is real life feel good story that will follow her the rest of her days. Having the courage to do what is right is tough, but the reward is for a lifetime. It could encourage her to make more right decisions later in life, if she chooses to.