Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Knowing What It Feels Like

It was the third day of school for my 9th grade daughter.

It was lunchtime.

She had gotten her lunch and was going to sit down with her friends when she noticed a brand new girl sitting by herself.

It would have been so easy to sit down in her normal spot. Her comfort zone. But she didn’t.

She went over, all by herself, and sat by this new girl.

Then another one of her friends followed suit and joined them. And another. And another.

My daughter said that she knows what it’s like to be in a room with people hoping that someone will come and be your friend. Usually they don’t. They stick in their comfortable social circles. And the out-of-place or new person stays on the fringes. Watching. Waiting.

I was so proud of her as she recounted this story to me with not an ounce of conceit. I was proud that she was a leader that day and that she showed her friends how to give and welcome someone new. I was also thinking about how that girl would go home that night. How her parents would probably say,  “How did your first day of school go? Did you make any new friends?” And she would say, “This one girl came up to me and sat by me in lunch and then her friends joined us too.”

What a neat thing to have my daughter known for to someone for the first time.

Giving. Sharing. Welcoming. Embracing. Compassion.

How many times have we been the new person? And we have sat by ourselves watching everyone else laugh and share conversation together – just wishing that we would be invited to join in? And how many of us have been that other person…..staying in their comfortable little cliché? Not willing to ruin the atmosphere because we like things the way they are?

Someone is ALWAYS on the fringe. Someone is ALWAYS wanting to join in.  We just don’t always notice.

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