Perspective. Not exactly something I carried around in the back pocket of my jeans when I was a teen. I figured I was some kind of genetic mistake - unbelievably
- and incredibly dull.
In the twisted world of adolescents, I rated somewhere near the bottom of the food chain.
Attending boarding school only made it worse. I couldn’t travel the 8 hours home to get away from my peer group. We lived together 24/7. My only joy was knowing that there were kids lurking somewhere below me. At the very bottom. I thanked God I was not one of them.
One afternoon, that all fell apart.
Every kid in boarding school was required to put in 20 hours of work experience. One of the weirdest kids in the school worked with me in the school print shop. His job involved precision and expertise with the presses while I cleaned toilets, vacuumed and dusted. The greasy faced guy never talked. He never made eye contact. Sometimes it was like he didn’t even exist.
That worked for me.
I remember vacuuming and mopping the print shop floors as fast as could. Getting to supper on time was my ultimate goal.
Finally, I grabbed a bucket of soapy water with one hand and threw open the bathroom door.
That’s where I found the wierdo, the invisible kid, the lowest bottom feeder of all
- perched on the toilet.
- his polyester pants pooled around his ankles,
- his oversized glasses sliding sideways down his nose.
I stared like I was driving by an exceptionally horrific car wreak. I just couldn’t look away.
When a wail rose from the perfect “O” of his mouth reached my ears, I dropped the bucket of soapy water and ran.
The keening of this strange kid followed me all the way out of the print shop and up the road to the Girl’s dorm.
“What happened to you?” asked one of my roommates when I ran into the room. After mumbling out a few details, I threw myself onto my bed.
For once, instead of being glad there was someone worse off than me, I was ashamed.
“Everybody is precious in God’s sight,” I imagined my mom saying as if she were right in the room with me instead of four hundred miles away.
I wanted to believe her but it was hard. When I looked into the mirror all I saw were pimples, crooked teeth and stringy hair. How could possibly see worth in someone I considered even worse off than me?
The power of perspective.
Merriam Webster defines it as “the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance.”
The lies of my youth were aggressive. In my face. They took me down.
The truth just sat there. Strong and steady. Solid and unchanging. Waiting for me.
I was fearfully and wonderfully made. Loved unconditionally by the creator of the Universe. He heard me when I cried. All that time, He knew my name.