Remember this when you see someone being excluded or alienated – just one friendly person can relieve the painful sense of feeling invisible.
Remember the deepest desire of the human heart is to belong … to be welcomed … to know you are seen and worthy of kindness.
This, she said, was the “best possible outcome” from her experience of being rejected. She went on to tell her daughter how she, just ONE person, could make a difference to someone who was feeling left out or excluded. She says ultimately, the mean moms who rejected her gave her a priceless gift. “The unkind treatment I received became a means to gain awareness, compassion, and connection,” she wrote.
Then, she recounted several examples of times when ONE person’s kindness had made a difference in her life, and when she was able to be the ONE person to make a difference in someone else’s. “One person can do that,” she says.
“One person can give someone hope.
I know this, I absolutely know this, but how often I forget.
Life gets busy. Things get familiar. I get caught up in my own problems, etc. etc.
I nearly forget what I have the power to do until one Tuesday afternoon when I take my daughter to an activity, and I am reminded. I approach two women hoping for kindness, but I am met with rudeness.”
Stafford’s words here gave me pause…not because I disagreed, but because I needed to read them over and over again to digest them. The truth and weight of her revelation resonated deeply with me, and I began to think of times in my life when just one person had made a difference to me.
I thought about a time when I was trying to get my developmentally-delayed child into a special preschool, and one person on staff went above and beyond to help me with the paperwork. It was a healing balm to my worried, nervous mother’s soul. I thought about a time when another of my children had to have a brain MRI, and am undoubtedly busy nurse took extra time to reassure me after they had taken my daughter back for the procedure. I thought about a time when I was frantically making a mess of my three-year-old’s birthday cake, and a friend dropped everything to come and help me. The smallest kindnesses can make the biggest difference, especially to someone facing fear, anxiety, or loneliness.
Lovely mamas who read this today, I pray that you and I will all take a page from Rachel Macy Stafford’s book (both literally and figuratively). Let’s not be the mean moms, the excluders. Let’s make room at the table for newcomers. Let’s look outside of our comfort zone and see who else might need to enter it. And for the love of all that’s holy, let’s teach our children to do the same. Raising children who are includers may be the most important thing we do to change the world we live in. Teaching our kids to show love and kindness, and to think of others first, as the Bible says to do, will surely go a long way to making this world a better place.
In a country that is so divided now, when tolerance is preached, yet intolerance of a differing opinion reigns, may we show everyone we encounter that our humanity is common ground, and that we are all worthy, as image-bearers of God, to be welcomed and included.