By: Pioneer, Sarah
I was in sixth grade at the time. I had been struggling with cliques at church for the last year or more. Now I was at Falls Creek (camp). I had made few friends and spent the first day mostly wandering around alone (due to nobody inviting me anywhere), and on my second day I missed my first volleyball game because I didn’t have a friend to tell me how to get there.
Then one night our in-cabin speaker spoke about high schoolers mentoring middle schoolers, and about those left out. The next day, I was sitting with a few other girls when we were approached by some high school girls. They invited us to join them on Friday for some fun and icees. On our way, I started talking to one of the older girls — Caitlin. I couldn’t understand why they had noticed me. I had watched enough Veggie Tales to know I was special (and God loved me very much!), but what I couldn’t see was what they saw.
It turned out these girls had cared enough about what the speaker said that they took action. They had spoken to the middle school sponsors and asked whom they thought could most benefit from their attention. They and the leaders saw in us attributes such as leadership and depth. The knowledge of that and the fact that they cared made me wrestle against tears.
Nine months later, I still struggle with the idea of “fitting in,” but I can say that it was, and is, a blessing to not be swept up in cliques and the focus of many of their conversations. Instead, I try to focus on being for others what those high schoolers were for me. I try to establish and maintain relationships with younger girls, and also with people around my age who show signs of being left by the wayside.
Lately my heart has shifted, and I have found that the more I reach to God and reach out to others as He commanded, the more He reaches to me and sends me the friends I need – not necessarily the popular friends I originally wanted, but the deeper friends I had been craving. I now see how much I’ve grown. I have a long way to go, but God has pulled me from my loneliness and given me the ability to recognize loneliness in others and reach out to them.