She threw the words like missiles, their impact exploding deep. I told you when it comes to kindness we never really graduate from the playground, girls. And, I wished I could tell you differently.
Sometimes life feels like a battleground.
Shock fell in tears and I whispered confusion to God before bleeding my heart into words on a screen, letting the rest of the “playground” in to respond as they may.
And, girls, this is what I learned. When people hurl words that burn deep, OPEN YOUR EYES. I know the natural response is to hang your head and wish for a bell to ring, magically whisking you off to a new setting and circumstance. I wished for that and I probably will with hurt at some point in the future. It’s part of our humanity. But there is another part of our humanity, a holy part, found in the ashes.
New faces emerged on the playground.
The first to turn to me apologized that anyone would hurt me. I responded with a protected thanks. I suppose words of my kindness were hard to hear when my soul felt so stung. However, this friend didn’t let my silence force hers. She kept talking, reliving a time when she too was taken aback by someone’s rant. Humiliated. Angry. It resonated.
Girls, not only do your tears have company, but the wounded around you will help carry you.
A newer face came next. I’ve seen her on the playground and waved hello, but more recently we’ve begun talking as friends, and I’m so thankful for the way the Lord weaves people into our lives because she has a forever special quality. Like an onion, she slowly peels back more layers of who she is, and only grows sweeter as she does. This time she divulges an experience when life felt outside of her control and, “if we can just keep our eyes on Him,” she says with pained yesterday in her eyes, “there is more.”
Girls, when feelings of desperation seize, the humble brave help you cling to Bigger.
And then came the cheerleader. Maybe if we could all just offer a bigger slice of the pie, she poses, we could all play nicer. We’d recognize the hunger for love and attention and gift it. We’d shed the lie of limited fortune in favor or limitless plenitude. I love her because even in the ugly she energetically rallies for belief in being a better people. And she challenges my mindset.
Girls, the champion will restore your excitement in the playground, helping you to stand up, bless and be blessed.
Finally comes the one currently broken right along with you. “Hurt people hurt people,” she laments and walks away.
Girls, we are a messy world of stories, masks, and insecurities and those word missiles thrown at you may have nothing to do with you at all.
Do you see what I’m seeing, girls?
Love lives on the playground.
And though the voices are quieter and might appear weaker they take meaningful root in your heart, changing everything.
The playground of life is a tough place but not a bad place. Even in darkness it is lovely. There are so many beautiful people around you and there are more words of life spoken than words of poison. See here friends that will help bandage your injuries and sit with you until your wounds heal. See here friends that will share understanding. See here friends that will help shift your eyesight from the problem to The Solution. See here friends that will pump you up so that when you get up you can be more of the good. See here friends that offer perspective into the deeper pain of the bully who might just need your prayers.
It’s the fallen world we are part of made beautiful by God’s working through the community He places near. Where love overcomes hostility and hope rises in the cinders we thought might singe us. Where we get to dust ourselves off, stand stronger together, and burn brighter in the moments to come. Brokenness creates an openness to awareness that transforms us.
You see, girls, ultimately have two choices on this playground – Focus on the pain and continue fighting a war or see here God-breathed love.
I pray for you the latter.