Dear little girl I see sitting alone,
I know the feeling well of sitting alone. The way you try not to stare at the other groups of children playing. You try not to be envious of their games. You wish with all of your heart someone would ask you to play. But, you aren’t surprised they don’t. You hold a book in your hands, but, if someone were really watching they would notice you have been on the same page all recess. It is not that the book is too hard, or uninteresting. You simply can’t concentrate. I know how that feels.
Dear Little boy throwing a football,
I have seen you miss the hands of your friends over and over. I have seen the look on your face as you glace to see if anyone has noticed that was your best throw. I know that inside your stomach turns because you know if they ever found out, that you really don’t like football you just don’t want to be alone you would be ridiculed.
Dear middle school girl,
I wish I could give you a hug as you stand there. You look so uncomfortable as the group you are with is making fun of another student. I wish someone would stop them. I wish you were strong enough to stop them yourself. But, I totally get why you don’t feel like you can.
Dear Highschool Boy,
I see the look of surprised terror as you have to brake suddenly because another kid thought it would be funny to pretend to jump in front of your car. You nod your head and pretend to laugh. Catching my eye with a look that says “I know it’s stupid, but, it’s highschool” as you shrug. I hope you realize that it is stupid. And, that next time, you might not stop in time. The fear that flickered across your face? The not knowing how to react will be so much worse if anything ever actually happens. I wish I could tell you that at 30 – none of you will remember you telling that kid to stop- but, every single person in the parking lot will remember forever if you aren’t paying enough attention next time.
Dear Teacher in the hallway,
I see you looking worn and tired. It’s only Tuesday and yet it looks like you have had a month of Mondays. There is just not enough of you to love on every student in the way you know they need. You can’t see every problem or catch each little frown. I smile at you hoping that all my grateful will show. Instead you look like you are afraid to say hello in fear I will point out something you missed.
Dear Man on the side of the road,
I see you muttering curses and kicking tires. I see the frustration and the anger. But, when you catch me staring, I also see the fear. I hope that fixing your truck is not going to take food from your family this month. I wish I were a mechanic and could fix it for you. But, the best I manage is what I hope conveys encouragement in my nod as the light turns green and I rush off to wherever I am headed.
With all my heart,
Someone who saw you
Every day and sometimes more than once I see the things mentioned above. Every day my kids come home from school with stories of how they, or someone they know has been hurt. The world is full of broken and hurting people- and the people who are hurting them. On a global scale the world needs to get it together and realize we don’t have this live in unity thing anywhere close to figured out. On a smaller one I wonder: If the little girl sitting alone had caught the football, would their worlds be better for it? Or if I had stopped and just given the mad a hot cup of coffee before being on my busy way, would it have been enough to turn his day around?
Every day my facebook newsfeed is full of people mourning, hurting, broken, breaking, boasting and celebrating. Some of that is just life. But, when your child is rude to my child I wonder… does she know that hurtful girls, without an interruption in their behavior, turn out to be hurtful women? Do the children who pressure others realize that the consequences of unwise choices live like a stain forever- and that they have a ripple effect?
I am certainly not perfect. I am certainly not even close. If you’ll remember i drove right past the man on the side of the road and said nothing to any of those I wrote to above. I could have. I didn’t. I regret that. I hoe some day my hurt won’t keep me from reaching out to someone who might need it.
I pray that my heart will see that it’s ok to make a difference. Because, I was hurt for trying to do that when I was sitting alone at school, and I am afraid to reach out now to the man on the side of the road. And, I don’t want to be.
I want to be much more than …
Someone who sees.