We sat on her bed for our nightly chat about the happenings of the day. I asked if there was anything I could pray for. She hesitates and says, “well we can pray for Addie. Kids were leaving her out today on the playground.” I ask some more questions and see tears welling up in her eyes. I know what’s coming; I’ve been waiting for it since she started school. “Well, they were leaving me out too.” Tears start to fall now with more of the story and how she tried to ask to be included and a teacher wouldn’t intervene when she asked for help. Harsh words were spoken and for no apparent reason. My heart aches for the hurt that is there and the many hurts that other kids will cause over the course of her life. (And my mama bear instincts are really wanting to thump some kids upside the head but I remain calm none the less. Isn’t that mature of me?)
I hug and hold and whisper truth of her beauty from the inside out, that she is precious, loved, and a good friend. I praise her for being a friend who stands up for the one left out and mourn that too many just follow the crowd and heap hurt on the playground of life. We all know that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me” is a straight up lie.
I tell her tomorrow will probably be different. Kids are fickle flowers, and it was, the next day was different. But I wish that I could tell her that kids grow up and don’t leave others out but those are lies too. Even at 35 the pain of rejection is real and the battleground of life can be brutal. Even well meaning friends (myself included) can hurt and say stupid things. Even as a mom you wish to be included in the play date circle and sometimes are left out. Sometimes you pour your life into others and they walk away, distancing themselves for no apparent reason. You raise a child and they one day decide to walk away, rejecting your love. Your spouse chooses another person or thing above you and leaves you brokenhearted. The wounds that can begin in grade school are similar to the ones of adulthood but as you get older there is more at stake, greater losses and wounds may come sadly. Rejection or even perceived rejection is a terrible pill to swallow.
I take comfort in the fact that I am not alone, I tell my sweet girl she is not alone. God never leaves us or forsakes us. I take comfort in the fact that I don’t have to find my worth or significance in others but on the truth that God is for me, and Jesus laid his own life down for me so that I will never have to know and experience rejection forever. It doesn’t make the pain go away but it gives me hope for the day when it will.
We are not alone; not on the playground, in the kitchen that’s a mess with littles at our feet, in the loss of a loved one or any other painful place. Jesus knows every hurt because he experienced it too. He gave his life to his friends and at the very end they all walked away. One of his closest even betrayed him and sealed the deal with a kiss. He knows the pain of rejection still today and yet the victory over darkness. He gives us hope that although we have pain in this world, if we have him in our life we will have victory forever. I have to tell myself and my sweet girl that we never walk alone with Christ. He sees us, he sees our joy and he sees our pain. He loves us no matter what. God. Sees. You.
I may not be able to hold her hand on the playground as others tell her lies and reject her from the circle but God can. He loves her more than I do and I have to rest in that.
We bow our heads, I hold her tight and pray, “God we praise you because you see us, you know our pain and we are never alone. Please comfort our hearts when they hurt and flood our hearts and minds with truth. Help us think about things that are true, noble, excellent and praiseworthy and not mull over the hurts in our minds. Help us to trust you and to love others even when it’s hard. Thank you for loving us beyond what we can imagine. Amen”