In this cold world where there is so much loneliness,
so much apathy and so little kindness,
we can be different.
Many years ago in high school on Valentine’s Day, I turned from my locker and a boy was standing there. He was one of those kids who was treated badly all the time. He had a way of dressing and speaking that made him a target. I watched him get smashed between a wall and a mean kid’s desk one time, and he was really hurt. Nobody liked him. At all. There was no cause for this abuse other than the stupid, mindless, bestial cruelty that so often springs from adolescent hearts.
Standing there by my locker he held out a small wooden plaque with a valentine shellacked on it.”I made this for you in my basement,” he said simply.
I was only 16 at the time, but his work on that piece of wood for me touched my heart. I accepted his plaque and thanked him for it. Several kids saw what he had given me and tried to get me to laugh about it behind his back. It wasn’t funny, and I didn’t laugh.
Every one of us can probably recall a time in our lives when we felt alone, felt like we were on the outside looking in while longing to be valued in some friendly context. Maybe there are readers who feel this way now. Rejection is some of the worst pain you can experience.
Many times the isolating work I did in the past and my unique circumstances in life growing up in an evangelical para-church ministry caused that sense of loneliness and the longing to fit in somewhere. Let me tell you, I understand.
All I can say is this: Whenever an opportunity comes along that you can salute a fellow human soul on this journey of life, don’t pass it up. People don’t need pity or fake concern, they need to be treated like human beings with feelings and with souls. It isn’t complicated. Someday you may find yourself needing that salute from a fellow human. Remember that.