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Friday, June 18, 2010

It will be called the Way of Holiness


I laugh.

I am surrounded by friends always. I have a group that follow me everywhere. When I walk in, I am smothered in hugs and "guess what?"s.

I'm never alone.

Life looks good for me.

But at night, my ghosts still haunt me - my memories still dog my every step.
Youth group Wednesday. All my beautiful friends. I went out to eat with my best friend, her mentor, and my mentor before youth group. Applebees was delish, not to mention very fun.

Later in the evening, me and my friends head outside after a large-group talk. We have a choice to do floor hockey or sidewalk chalk, and we all end up doing chalk, but slack off and talk instead. As my friend says something funny, and I start laughing, a young eighth-grader who wasn't new but never made any friends walks by with a piece of chalk in her hand. She looks at me, and then her eyes wander over my group of friends who were all sitting with me.

And my smile fades, because I see this deep longing in her eyes for what I have.

Friends.

Someone to talk to through the hour and a half at church which can seem so very long when alone. Someone to laugh with and someone that will say goodbye to her when she has to leave. Someone to listen to her when she has a bad day and cry with her when she needs it. Someone to tease her because that's what friends do.

I have had that blessing of friends all my life. I have no recollection of ever sitting alone, of ever feeling on the outside; because I never have been on the outside. I've always been in the center. At church, in sports, in my neighborhood. I've always had many people that hug me bye when I leave and run up to me when I come in.

I knew what the girl wanted. I knew that it would have made her whole entire week if I had just walked away from my friends and said hi to her.

But you know what I did?

I looked away. I didn't do anything, except ignore her until she walked away. I purposefully let her know that she's unwanted and that she doesn't belong with my friends.

When she finally walked away, I felt something rush up in me. For once, the friends that surrounded me sickened me. I hated them for dulling my sense of awareness. Because they've loved me unconditionally, I can never relate to the girl on the outside, because that's never been me. It just hasn't been.

Then I realized how stupid I was to be angry at my friends. It's my fault that I never reach out. That I stay in my comfort zone and shrug "who cares about that girl? This is about me and appearing invulnerable."

This girl is going on the mission trip with my church that I am going on with several of my friends. We had a meeting about the trip last Sunday. We were supposed to share why we wanted to go on the trip. You know what the girl said?

"I'm going on the mission trip because I want to make friends."

That struck me hard. She wants to make friends. That's all she wants. She just wants one friend that will be there for her.

Next Wednesday, I'm going to talk to her. I'm going to walk up to her and introduce myself. I'm not going to lie: she doesn't look like the funnest person to be around, she looks like a young child and kind of annoying. But I am not going to let that control whether or not I talk to her. She is probably a wonderful girl, ignored because of her physical appearence. I have seen her walk around alone all year, but I pushed away the thought of reaching out because I didn't want her to be my friend.

She needs a friend. That's a need that is very important for her, and I can fill that need. Why did I hesitate all year?

Because I had an image that I needed to keep up, and having her be my friend would destroy the image. I wouldn't look cool hanging out with her, because she doesn't look like a cool person typically looks like. All my other friends are cool. Why should I want a non-cool friend?

The root of this is image. I worry too much about what other people think. It hurts to acknowledge that. It hurts to realize that. But it's true. It's so true.

This will be the first small step of reaching out. It will be the first stone taken out of the wall that I have built around myself. It will be the first risk I take. I pray it won't be the last.

Isaiah 35

The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the LORD,
the splendor of our God. 

Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;


Say to those with fearful hearts,
"Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you."


Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.


The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay,
grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.


And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness.
The unclean will not journey on it;
it will be for those who walk in that Way;
wicked fools will not go about on it. 

No lion will be there,
nor will any ferocious beast get up on it;
they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,


And the ransomed of the LORD will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

10 replies:

Jenna said...

Wow, This post really, opened my eyes. I know what it feels like to be on the outside. So i think i might just do that too...

Jenna

Queen Lucy said...

Thank you for putting such a difficult truth into words. I feel the same way with my group of friends, but I have also been on the outside. This post touched my heart! Thank you, Bekah.

Queen Lucy

Queen Lucy said...

Do you mind if I *borrow* your idea and do a post about being on the outside of a circle of friends?

Queen Lucy

Siriana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Siriana said...

Bekah, I would personally like to thank you.

I've always been that person on the outside...I've never had many friends, and currently most of my friends don't even live where I do...making it hard to actually hang out and do things.
I'm that girl...not specifically the one your talking about...but I'm usually that girl on the outside.

I've also had this problem...and I've suffered on both ends of it.

Yet when the opportunity arises for me to be the one reaching out, I don't listen to my heart and do it...only to end up kicking myself for it later.

take heart, there's tomorrow...

I think we've all been guilty of this at one point or another and we all need to make reaching out something thats an instinctive response...

thank you so much Bekah
and trust me, its better late, than never
blessings and prayers
~Siriana

Melian said...

Bekah--

You're going to make that girl's day.

I can't tell you how bitter the feeling is when people just walk away. For about two years of my three in youth group, I was on the outside. Every one was in their little 'clicks' and ignored the others-- me included.

This last year I have been so blessed with a wonderful group of friends that encourage me.

You would think that I would learn from my own experiences. But I didn't. I have been the person ignoring the others. The one who didn't want to let others in. For me, it was more of a reaction out of fear. I didn't know how the other person would change my friends. If they wouldn't hang out with anymore.

The it hit me that if they wouldn't hang out anymore, were they really friends?

Reaching out is not one of my strong points. I like staying in my comfort zone and not leaving it. But Im going to try. They reached out to me, so I can do the same for others.

A beautiful reminder, Bekah.

Love & Hugs-- Melian

Kinsey said...

Wow this is so true about me. I don't talk to people if they look different than me or they just don't fit in with my "type" of friends. It's such a bad habit I really need to break. I think we all should step out our comfort zone and reach out to other people. =) ♥

.lauren.anne. said...

Not to sound old, but I am proud of you. I mean, I have been on both sides of the fence before. Maybe not to the extreme at which that girl has, but I know how she feels.

thanks for sharing, and for reaching out.

Lauren Anne

Awel Prince said...

Dear Bekah...I know what I feels like to be on the outside. For a long time, it seemed like every church we went/visited us girls were shunned because we were different...We made efforts to talk to the girls but we were rejected...harshly, blatantly, cruelly sometimes...it really hurts to be lonely...That girl will love you to death...remember she's just a real as you...she has hopes, dreams, fears...God created her special just like He's created you as uniquely as he has...

Love & Hugs,
Awel

Jordyn said...

Ohhhh, Bekah- this post made my day- so congrats for doing that twice today :) I have totally been on the outside, and know how horrid it feels to be stuck there. I agree with lauren anne- I am super duper proud of you, dear- you're figuring all this stuff out a whole year before I did. ;)

-oh hey- thanks SO much for that email :)

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