What to do when all of you wishes you were somewhere else: don’t sit in a corner by yourself and cry. Even though that may be the only thing you feel like doing.
Recently, as I was sitting in the corner, I thought about how I want to be doing something. Loving. Making a difference. Filling up my days with things that count. Sometimes, I fall into this mindset where I think I can only do those things if I’m some place else. If I’m on a missions trip in a third world country, surrounded by people who desperately need love, who have physical signs of poverty and emptiness on the outside.
So I tell myself that I’m just a conversation away from hundreds of individuals with broken pasts, traumatic experiences, scars and hurts and fears that I can’t even comprehend. Everyday I have the chance to interact with people who are empty on the inside.
But that’s when the question brews. Deep inside of me, a terrible, gut-wrenching fear.
What do I have to offer these people? Any of these people? What makes me think that I could get to them? That I could understand, affect, or even fully love them?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to love people, to love broken people. Care for them, show them their worth and value. To bring them hope, help mend their hearts, and give them something to live for. But what can I possibly offer? My background, how I grew up in a supportive, whole, and loving family? My testimony of knowing the perfect heavenly Father since I was five years old? My “I’ve been so blessed” stories? All my needs that have been met?
What can I say to the girl next to me who’s mom just passed away?
What condolences can I offer the boy who’s never known the love of a family, who’s been moved from home to home and is still searching for security?
Who am I, that I could help them?
And then, I remember. A trip to the dumps of Guatemala. Trash, everywhere. Dirty, sweat-stained faces. Families, father and mother and children, all hungry for love and attention. All desperate for a kind word, a touch on the shoulder, a warm smile. Someone to look past the dirt and ill-fitting clothes and see THEM. Notice them. Not just “people”, but persons. Souls. Beautiful, hurting individuals, crying out to be valued and seen and loved. Did they care that I lacked a background to match theirs? No needs unmet, no tragedy? No dirty clothes, empty bellies, or lost hopes?
No. They simply wanted to be loved.
Will love, just love, be enough for the person in the car next to me? Or the other countless souls I’ll come in to contact with in the future? Only God knows.
But I keep this hope, tucked down in a pocket of my heart. Love, just love, was once enough. And it can be again.
So I’m out of the corner now.
And the fear still surfaces, that I won’t have anything to offer. That I’m in the wrong place. But then comes the gentle reassurance: God doesn’t make mistakes. I’m where I am, right now, for a reason. And love, just love, is powerful enough.
words and photo by Alyssa Nesbitt