The Problem With Polly

As long as she could remember she had been unhappy. Being horribly overweight and self-conscious, she had retreated to the only safe haven she had, her bedroom. She would come home from school, raid the fridge, and go to her room. A pity party was the norm and she attended it well, usually gorging on her favorite snacks, crying her eyes out.

She hated everything about her life. At the top of her list was her name. Polly! It had started in elementary school. A boy had called her Polly, the parrot. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, it went downhill from there. Now everybody called her “Big Bird”. She hated it! Kids would snicker and say things behind her back. Consequently, she became a loner, someone who always stayed in the background.

Her parents didn’t know how to help her. They talked to her Guidance Counselor at school and came away with no concrete answers. The Counselor recommended professional help and gave them a couple of names. They contacted them and were shocked at how much it would cost. Financially, it was out of their capability. They watched her become a very unstable, angry child. In their minds, they wondered if she would become violent. But most of all they worried about suicide. They had read the statistics for teenage suicide and it startled them. They didn’t know what to do.

The kids, at school, knew that something was wrong and many were afraid of her. Trying to be funny, some of the kids warned their younger siblings about her, saying, “Watch out! Big Bird will get you!”

Polly didn’t try to be mean, she just couldn’t help it. She kept hearing a voice telling her to do terrible things.

“Get even! It’s Ok! Teach them a lesson! You won’t get in trouble! Don’t be afraid!” were just a few of the things she heard. They kept coming, over and over, never letting up, never leaving her alone. The one that really bothered her was “Carry a knife!” She struggled with that one.

Finally, she could take no more. She broke. It happened at school.

“Hey, Big Bird! Want some bird seed?” came the taunt.

Seeing red, she turned, recognized the boy by his voice, grabbed him, and slammed him against the wall. Caught by surprise, the boy couldn’t protect himself. His head collided with the wall with a sickening crunch. He collapsed unconscious to the floor, blood starting to seep from his scalp’s split skin.

Polly definitely stood over him. A confused, glazed look was in her eyes. The voice spoke to her again, ”You showed him! Now, kick him in the head!”

Polly started to do it and had cocked her leg when she was grabbed from behind.

“Stop it! Stop it right now!” the voice commanded.

She turned to see who had grabbed her. Recognizing the principal, she began to calm down. No longer was she seeing red.

“Why, Polly, why did you do it?”

She just stared at him, shrugged her shoulders, and began to cry. A member of the faculty led her to the principal's office to wait for her parents. The principal knelt down by the boy and waited until the ambulance came and took him to the hospital.

The principal and Polly waited for her parents to arrive. They did and were ushered into his office. He explained to them what had happened, and her mother began to cry.

“Mr. and Mrs. Perry, we have a problem here. Polly could have killed that boy. In fact, I had to pull her away from him. You are going to have to deal with her anger issues. You may be sued by her parents, and will probably have to pay his medical bills.  I can’t allow any more outbursts. At this moment Polly is expelled,” explained the principal.

Polly’s mother looked at her, “Why? Why would you do such a thing? What’s wrong?”

Polly folded her arms across her chest and said, “You wouldn’t understand. You have never understood me!”

Bewildered, her dad looked at the principal and asked, “Can we take her home?”

“Yes, please do. You may get a visit from a social worker and the police will probably stop by. Expect it.”

They took Polly home and tried to reason with her. She sat, stone-faced, at the kitchen table while they pleaded, scolded, and threatened her. It didn’t even phase her. Finally, she stood up, raided the fridge, and went to her room.

“What are we going to do?” asked her mother.

“I don’t know, but we have to do something soon,” answered her father.

The next day she was still in her room. Her parents had grounded her indefinitely, which really didn’t matter anyway because she never went anywhere. She was reading when she heard the doorbell ring. Her mom went to the door and she could hear her talking to someone. Moments later she heard a knock on her door, then the door opened slightly.

“Polly, there’s someone here to see you.”

The door opened wider and she could see a man standing there with a book in his hand.

“Who are you?” she asked somewhat timidly.

“I’m Robert Jenkins. I’m the pastor of the church where Danny goes. Can I come in? I’d like to talk to you.”

She immediately went on the defensive. The voice began to urgently tell her, “Don’t let him in! I don’t like him!”

“I don’t know. What are we going to talk about?” she warily asked.

“Whatever you want to talk about,” he answered.

Surprised by his answer, something told her that it was okay.

“I guess so,” she replied.

Turning to her mother he said, “I need to talk to her alone. Ok?”

Her mother nodded yes and shut the door. He sat down on the foot of her bed.

“Polly,” he said, “I’m here to listen. I want to know what is going on with you. Danny’s parents asked me to come. What you tell me goes a long way toward what they will do. They are waiting for me to get back to them.”

“Is Danny ok?” she asked. I really didn’t mean to hurt him. I was so mad at him all I could see was red.”

“He’s in the hospital. He has a concussion and several stitches in his scalp. The prognosis is that he will be fine. They are going to keep him for a couple more days for observation. Polly, what came over you? Why did you do it?” he asked.

“I couldn’t take it anymore.”

“Take what? I don’t understand,” he asked.

“The constant teasing about my weight and appearance. Because of my name, the kids call me “Big Bird.” It hurts. I heard him say it, and all of a sudden I saw red. The voice told me to do it, so I did,” she answered.

“Voice? What voice?”

“I hear it all the time. It keeps pushing me, prodding me to get even. It won’t leave me alone. I have even heard it tell me to kill myself. It just won’t leave me alone,” she answered.

“Polly, I know what the voice is. I know who it is. You mustn’t listen to it.”

"What? How do you know?”

“You may not want to believe it but it’s true. It is the devil. He is trying to destroy you,” he answered.

“The devil? Am I possessed? I’ve watched horror movies, and have seen how the devil is portrayed. Has that happened to me?” she asked with a trembling voice.

“I don’t think you are possessed. But I do believe you are heavily influenced by him. He finds the weak spot, in everybody, that he can exploit, and he has found yours.”

“What do I do?” she sobbed.

“Have you always been this way?”

“I have been picked on since second grade. Constantly teased and bullied. I have no friends, in fact, I have never had a friend. i have learned to entertain myself. Mom and Dad don’t know how to help me. The only pleasure I have in life is food. That’s why I am so overweight. I don’t know how to fix it,” she sobbed.

“Would you allow me and someone I know to help you?”

She looked at him for a couple of minutes and asked, “Can I trust you? I am so afraid. Who is it that you want me to meet?”

He took her hands in his, “Polly I am going to introduce you now. His name is Jesus and he is the only answer. He loves you regardless of how you look. Height, weight, sex, or skin color means nothing to Him. If you allow Him, He will show you what true love is. He can fix any problem, meet any need, and He wants to do it for you. Will you let Him?”

“It sounds too good to be true. Can He really help me?”

“Yes, He is the only answer for you.”

Polly broke down. Every wall and barrier she had built began to crumble. She looked at him and nodded yes.

“Polly, the first step is the most important. You must be born again. Do you know what that means?”

She shook her head no.

The pastor explained how Jesus came to Earth, willingly died on the cross for her sins, and how He had ascended into Heaven to sit by the right side of the Father, interceding for her.

It was a lot for her to try to understand and she had several questions. The pastor was patient with her and when he felt she understood it, he led her to Christ through the sinner’s prayer. He then laid hands on her and rebuked the devil and all of his demons.

“Polly, this is just the beginning for you. You have a lot to learn. We will start small and work our way up. The first thing is that I want you to come to Youth Meeting at my church on Wednesday. Will you come?”

Polly knew nothing about the church but was willing to learn. She nodded her head yes.

“My parents have grounded me. I don’t know if they will let me,” she answered.

“It’s ok! I will talk to your parents. It starts at 7:00. I’ll be watching for you.”

Her parents gladly gave her permission to go. The voice still spoke to her but she knew what it was now. She did her best to ignore it but it really tormented her all day Wednesday. “Don’t go tonight! It’s not for you!” kept coming into her mind.

The pastor was at the door watching for her. He ushered her in and led her to a classroom. Several kids were already there. She recognized several from school. She had never talked to any of them before, so she felt a little awkward.

“How many of you know Polly? She is a new Christian as of three days ago,” he announced.

The kids looked at her in amazement. They couldn’t believe the girl that everybody thought was strange was there. Slowly they approached her, surrounded her, introduced themselves, and gave her a hug. Unaccustomed to the attention, she sat down at the end of a table and listened to the lesson for the evening. One of the girls offered to share her Bible with her. She scooted her chair next to her and began learning about God and His love.

After it was over and had cleaned up after refreshments, the girls approached her and asked if she would like to sit with them in the school cafeteria.

She couldn’t believe it! They wanted her to sit with them. She didn’t know what to say at first.

“I’d like that very much but I’ve been expelled,” she answered.

“For how long?”

“I don’t know,” she answered.

“The offer is always open. Sit with us when you can.”

“I will.”

As she was leaving the pastor called her aside.

“Did you like it?” he asked.

“Yes, very much so. Pastor, I am still hearing the voices. What do I do?”

“It’s to be expected. The devil doesn’t want to give you up. The next time you hear them say this, “In the name of Jesus, I command you to leave me alone.” You have power over the devil. You will learn more about how to fight him. Just keep coming back to Youth Meeting.”

She nodded yes and again started to leave.

“Wait a minute, Polly,” he said, “ I have more to tell you. I have talked to the kids about how you are treated at school. I am sorry that it happened. Kids can be so cruel. I will have a talk with Danny about it. He knows better. I will also talk with his parents. They are good, Christian people. I’ll tell them that you are a new Christian. Hopefully, they will be lenient with you. They should be. As far as school and being expelled, that will take time. You will have to prove yourself to a lot of people. Show everyone that Jesus has changed you,” he encouraged.

Polly nodded yes, secretly vowing she would do so. For the first time in her life, she felt peace. She couldn’t explain it. It was just there. Considering the turmoil she had been in, it felt wonderful.

She visited Danny in the hospital. He was leery when she entered his room.

“Danny, will you forgive me for what I did? I am so sorry. Please forgive me?” she pleaded.

Startled, he nodded yes, and then proceeded to ask her forgiveness for calling her that name.

“I don’t know why I did it,” he said, “I know it hurts you. I’m truly sorry.”

“The devil makes all of us do things we regret. I am learning how to resist him. God will help both of us.”

Polly became a member of the church and was instrumental in leading her parents to Jesus. She approached Danny’s parents and asked for their forgiveness. So taken aback by her demeanor, they decided against taking her and her parents to court. Her parents still had to pay his medical expenses, but it all worked out.

The pastor accompanied her to the next School Board Meeting and spoke on her behalf, explaining the transformation that had taken place in Polly. Polly stood and apologized for her actions and promised it would never happen again. After talking among themselves, they allowed her to come back on probation.

She was still called “Big Bird” behind her back. She ignored it and allowed it to roll off her shoulders. She thought about it and come to a conclusion. She may be overweight on Earth, but she was huge in Jesus’s eyes. His love made her see what she really was. A King in His Kingdom!

July 8, 2021