I always wince whenever I reflect on my Jr. High years. I was taller than most of the girls, skinny legs and broad hips while many of my fellow students were short, cute, and probably a size 2 to my size 8! (At least the ones that I was envious of!).
I can easily recall how it felt to wonder where I actually fit in, who would I sit with for lunch, or even more challenging; who would I hang out with during that long “recess” after lunch. I am certain that I compensated by acting confident but inside I was insecure.
I am the middle child of 6 girls in my family so I may have had a bit of “middle child syndrome” but if I ponder those years for too long I can actually feel my body tense up even today! We all want to belong, to matter, to be wanted, and to be valued. This is part of our human nature.
Tonight I gave myself the gift of watching the movie “Wonder”. A story of a boy entering Jr. High for the first time in public school; he has a noticeable facial deformity that makes his experience 100% worse than anything I ever experienced. He endures, matures, and ultimately makes a difference in the school environment but it was a painful reminder of the powerful impact of rejection. Brought me to tears.
Haven’t we all experienced a lack of acceptance one time or another? Haven’t we all felt unsure of where we fit from time to time? Of course we have! Seeing it again tonight reminded me again how important it is for us to be empathetic and mindful when we see someone who is isolated or struggling to fit in; perhaps we can make a real difference in their life!
The holiday season can be especially hard for those who feel disconnected. Perhaps we could all up our game and be watchful and responsive if God taps our shoulder asking us to find a way to be inclusive. We all want to matter.