When I was in high school I read a book in which the mother pushed the daughter to be social. Popular. She said, ‘Geri, you don’t want to be friends with a lot of leftover people.’
I didn’t ever really think I was a leftover person, but I did harbor prejudice toward people who seemed odd in any way. That’s what kids do in middle school. Everybody is concerned with looking ok and traumatized if they don’t. They are picked on. It really is a horrible rite of passage. It knocked the wind out of me, and I don’t think I’ve caught up with it.
What I have figured out is that I do want to be friends with the leftover people. Leftover people are tougher than other kids. They are more resilient, and they have compassion for others. They value friendship more.
I am not saying that the cheerleaders are vapid necessarily. It is dangerous to stereotype people. But it is true that Jesus is a God for misfit people. We are quite hard on the tax collectors and prostitutes, but the fact that they committed the sins for which they were held responsible doesn’t mean they thought it was ok. Jesus said:
Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you!
The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Mt 21:31). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
We shun people because we don’t understand. Yet, they have a bigger blessing from the Lord because he forgives them more. That is, they have more to forgive.
They aren’t as lovely as the beautiful people. The beautiful people are more attractive. They look good, they are shiny and appear to have wonderful lives that others want to have. Historically, I have wanted to be friends with people like this.
Nowadays, though, I want to be friends with the fat, graying, stuttering, alcoholic. Someone who knows how to suffer and survive. How to stay sober. How to have endurance. Someone humble.
It’s not lowering my standards, it is just a deepening appreciation for those who aren’t as shiny as the rest.