For years I've had to ask myself one question....
What would I say?
You see, my middle school and high school years were not the best years of my life. I know on some levels, we could ALL echo that sentiment. Who can really say that they love the years filled with horrible mood swings, zits the size of your head and the drama that can only be found when you pack hundreds of teenagers in one building...Lord have mercy.
My biggest problems in high school stemmed from the simple fact that sometime during my sixth grade year, I began to buy into the lie that the most important thing in life was to be popular. Everything I did revolved around this concept and over time my entire personality was shaped around this lie. I became someone I wasn't and in turn I became very self centered and bratty (just ask my mom). :)
Since moving back to Gloversville, I have asked myself many times, "what would you say?"
"What would you say, Cyndie, if you ran into that girl who you know you were not always kind to? You know, the one who was pretty mean herself and who always seemed to be alone. The one who didn't smell quite like you and looked like she was always angry. Sure, maybe she wasn't always the nicest person to be around, but what would you say if you ran into her today?"
All those times when I've thought about that question, I've pictured two girls particularly. I couldn't even remember their names, but their faces were etched in my memory forever. I'll be honest, on occasion, I've actually seen one of them walking down the street as I've been driving by. I've been tempted to stop but I've always faltered as I've thought about how weird it would be for me to swerve over to the side of the street to talk to a person I haven't seen in 20 years (and whose name I can't even remember)!
But over the past 3 years, I've known in my heart that 'one day' God would put me face to face with those ladies and I would finally find out what I would say...
That day finally came. On just my 4th day of working at C1, I did a 180 as I looked over my shoulder and saw a girl rushing past me as I stirred my coffee. Her head was down and she looked like she was avoiding all eye contact. Her clothes were worn and she looked as though she hadn't slept in ages. She headed straight into the ladies room and didn't come out for over 20 minutes.
I ran over to Donn and asked if he knew that lady. He said her name was Sue. That's right! It was Sue! He said she'd been coming into C1 for the past few months.
My head raced as I attempted to find something to do to keep busy in my strategic location by the coffee bar. I figured the minute she came out of the bathroom, she would head for coffee. I knew my time had come...
Finally, she emerged from the ladies room looking as though she had brushed her hair and maybe washed up her face. As she walked over to the coffee bar, I looked her in the eyes and said, "Sue, is that you? Do you remember me? I went to school with you."
She smiled a pleasant smile and said, "Hi Cyndie!"
We exchanged small talk for a bit and finally I said to her, "Sue, I need to apologize to you. When I was in school, I was a stuck up snob and I may have said or done things that were mean to you. I'm really sorry about that and hope you can forgive me."
She looked shocked. She then went on to tell me about how dark her school days were. She said that in some ways she was always relieved to arrive at school because when she was home she was beaten so badly that school was at least a place to escape to. But then, when she would get to school she was bullied so badly (not by me, don't worry) that she would become incredibly angry and start fights often. She thinks her last year of school was ninth grade. In her eyes, her school years were the worst years of her life.
I asked her what she was doing now and where she was living. She looked down at the table and said that she was living on the streets. She had been living with a man who beat her so she grabbed her purse and left. She had slept for the past two nights on a bench in the 20 degree weather and snow.
My heart broke as I thought of how blessed I am to do what I do. For 3 1/2 years, I have been back in Gloversville and I've not run into this girl. But in 4 days of being at C1 full time, God brought her back into my life. She's rough around the edges and she still doesn't smell like me or act like me, but He loves her just as much as He loves me.
And I can now say that I have a new friend, whom I knew years ago, but never knew. Her name is Sue. Where are the "Sue's" in your life? And what would you say??