Monday, March 5, 2012


I tried to disappear as the taunts came at me from all angles - a difficult task as I was also trying to go up the stairs of the school bus as quickly as I could. It happened every day after school - some rich kid would start picking on some aspect of my appearance that highlighted how poor I was.

The bus ride was hellish - both to and from school.  The classes weren't so bad; the teacher was in charge and we were not allowed to talk to each other.  But on the bus, in between classes, before and after school ... they were torture.  I felt like I could be ambushed at any moment.  I could never let my guard down.  My best bet was to hunker down and not talk to anyone and I just MIGHT not get targeted ... today.  

And it didn't stop when I got home.  Relatives visiting - a new horror every time - encompassed by know-it-all cousins, and having my faults proclaimed by my parents and me ridiculed in front of their parents - their parents would soon join in the "fun" with nobody stopping them. I'd start to get angry - or sad - and they'd just laugh at me.

I was surrounded.  And not in a good way.  

I thought of that tonight after I got home from being in quite the opposite atmosphere.  I was in a room this evening with several other people who have done nothing other than accept me for who and what I was, at the very moment that I was that person / thing (without an agenda to fix me!) People who never tried to change me or to manipulate me, who have never ridiculed me, who have always loved me, unconditionally.  Who have been to me (as I have been to them on occasion) what one of our number called, "God with skin on."

Source (via Google Images):
When one celebrates, we all celebrate with him or her.  When one suffers, we all feel the pain.  

The love I experienced at that gathering was like being surrounded by acceptance, by gratitude, wonder, and peace. And it wasn't a church function - but it was a group of people who have come to have a relationship with God, who have come to share their experience with each other, to gain strength and hope from the sharing of it.  

I can't imagine my life without such wondrous friends surrounding me.  It fills me with such a sense of gratitude, of happy bewilderment that such amazing people have embraced me.  I guess being surrounded doesn't have to be such a bad thing after all; it all depends on the company you keep.

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