I was looking at my xanga and noticed a picture in the friend’s segment; his name was Tyler Toll, and he passed away on February 10th in a fatal car accident. I remember he used to write when he was feeling down, always wanting more comments, always wanting to be noticed. I used to comment him, and I almost laughed now at how serious I was. I can see how it probably annoyed some people because I had those “right” responses that don’t seem human, but that was how I used to process things. It was how I used to cope with my social situation in high school.
It wasn’t that I was a total outcast; I just hadn’t found anyone like me yet. My school was small enough for that to be possible. It gives a whole new dimension to the teenage self-image of being totally different and unique when that is actually all you’ve ever known; rejection for being plain different. Too much of a “teacher’s pet” or too talkative or too clingy or too “perfect”… rather histrionic, clinging to little things that most kids let go because they just never thought of things the same way, or experienced life on the outside. Yet through that stage of my life, the time after middle school and before I really found tight friends, it was then that I cemented my relationship with Christ, and realized that He truly was all I needed. I was at peace, in love with life, once I figured out who I was. Just look at this comment I posted: “as soon as you’re content being yourself and you’ve found who you are in Christ, other things will fall into place. I’m not saying it’s easy- it might take some time to get there, but don’t worry…it’ll be ok.”
I really hadn’t mastered the art of relating to people. A lot of the time I came off as self-righteous, when all I really wanted to do was help. Other times, I really did understand to some extent what people were going through, and was endlessly frustrated that some were seemingly content being hurt and alone. My heart went out to them then, and it goes out to so many others now. I was talking about relationships with a friend today, and decided that the people who are hurting the most push away the hardest.
And maybe I wasn’t little miss popularity, the kind of attention they craved, since I obviously had a long way to go before I “got it” in regards of how to get along with/not infuriate others. It just breaks my heart to see someone so lonely, so hurting, that they won’t accept friendship from anyone; even someone who was also hurting and trying to relate, trying to reach for those relationships that define sweet fellowship.
I didn’t really understand the beauty of community until I came to college and realized that there are others out there who sincerely believe and live the way I strive to live. What a joy that has been, but what a blessing has my past been to be able to see how people are hurt and trapped, and not forget about them. I truly sincerely notice people and want to take them in, to love them. God has put all these people in my life…. and now I’m just working on how exactly to do that best. I’m far from expert.
So here’s a toast to the grace that uses imperfect people for a perfect plan- none of us deserve it remotely, but that is the sheer beauty of it.
“8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” ~Ephesians 2:8-10
“27But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him.” ~1 Cor. 1:27-29
“12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” ~Colossians 3:12-14
There’s a lot written about all this… I have no excuse not to live this way.
I am off to Texas for a service trip for Spring break! I am so excited! Have a great week!