The playground was crowded with children. Many were running in groups playing games. Some small groups were standing around talking. And some children were alone without friends. One in particular was Terry who stood by herself with her arms folded over her chest. She just watched the other children as if waiting for someone to invite her to play. Day after day she stood alone, without a friend.
Terry was a mystery to her classmates. She never spoke louder than and whisper. No-one knew if she couldn’t speak in a normal voice or if she just wouldn’t. In the classroom she would never raise her hand to answer questions. She just watched everyone else participate.
She was taller than most of the children in her class and a bit bigger around. Her uniform showed signs of being passed down from an older sister. Her clothes weren’t really clean all the time. Though she wore the regular uniform she looked somehow old fashioned.
Her skin was very light, like she never ventured out into the sun on her own. She didn’t appear to be athletic or outgoing, just alone. Day after day she could be seen standing alone or occasionally standing with one of the other unpopular children.
Julie was new to being around children and had watched Terry but never approached her. She had heard other children talk about not going around Terry because she was different. She watched as others avoided contact with Terry and wondered exactly why. Julie had learned in her brief education in the school yard that you don’t hang around the unwanted unless you want to be unwanted. She had never approached Terry.
Today, however Terry was sitting on the steps crying. At first Julie just looked at her and hoped someone would go to comfort her. Julie did not want to do it because it may make her look bad and she was struggling to make friends as it was. But the more she watched the more she realized she should go over to help.
Julie figured this would be a onetime thing and then it would be over. She grabbed all the courage she could find and walked over to Terry. She asked what was wrong. Terry said nothing. So Julie just sat there telling Terry it would be ok. Eventually Terry quit crying and seemed to feel better. Recess was over and Julie figured her good deed was done.
The next day Terry approached Julie in her awkward way, hitting her on the shoulder and asked her to play. Julie politely played with her but knew this would doom her to making friends with the cool kids. Julie day after day distanced herself from Terry and eventually quit hanging around her altogether.
Julie was influence by the Holy Spirit to help her friend but wasn’t willing to pay the social price to continue being friendly. This story is sad but a true account of events in the lives of two children. Even as adults we are confronted with the same problems. We sometimes feel compassion for people but want it to be a onetime help and are not willing to stay the course and build a relationship with the unwanted and unloved.
This is something to think about. Enjoy your week and I will be back next week with more.