Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Do You Know These Ladies?

I find that most of us struggle sometimes with feelings of inadequacy. Some struggle more than others, and sometimes our experiences get in the way. Maybe you know someone struggling with more than their share of pain. Maybe you could help. Maybe you could reach out to someone and help them feel valued.

Consider the following stories. The names are made up. The experiences...well, you decide.

Sharon: She was widowed much to early, young and alone with a house to maintain. The neighbors stepped up to help. Mostly men. Some mowed her lawn and did simple repairs. She sometimes invited them in for a sandwich or a glass of lemonade. Tongues began to wag. Wives felt threatened. Rumors seeped through the neighborhood. Unkind words were spoken. None of it was true. She was more alone than ever. The pain never went away.

Kate: She is lonely. She sits alone in church. She volunteers for stuff, but no one wants her help. She goes walking every day. Alone. She's never invited to their activities, but she stays busy. Why don't they like her? Is there something wrong with her? She has given up on making friends. She feels useless, unwanted.

Ivie: She doesn't know why she is different. She doesn't dress like them. She doesn't act like them. Of course the money is part of it, but it's more than that. She would be different even if she had money. Their experiences are different. Their tastes are different. She feels like she is from another planet. They are nice to her, but it feels fake. Why is it so hard to fit in?

Margaret: She feels like they are judging her. She isn't perfect, but she is trying. Doesn't that count for something. They don't know what she has been through. She feels inadequate. She compares herself with the others and she knows that she doesn't measure up. The others are all so talented, and so beautiful. They cook, and clean, and polish. Their families adore them. She's just not good enough.

It's not always easy to fit in, and we can be so hard on each other, without even meaning to. If only we could peel away the earthy layers and see as God sees. If only we could see what's in the heart.

Let's see each other as we are, daughters of light. Let's choose kindness. Let's include everyone.

Look for the one who sits alone, who doesn't fit in, who acts different. Reach out. Make a difference.

Linda Garner

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