Before the days of Instagram and Facebook and even cell phones, we had film. Actual film. You put the roll in the camera, you took the pictures, and you had to wait to get them developed to see what they looked like. Monday mornings were either the highlight of the week or brutal.
The popular girls would have their pictures from the weekend, and everyone wanted to see what silly things took place and who was there.
If you hadn’t been invited to the sleepover, those were dreaded moments. They would all be talking about the fun things that happened, the inside jokes, and they were all the best of friends…but someone would be left out.
This time, it was me.
I sat there with them in the bleachers as they flipped through the pictures. With the turn of each one, they would all laugh and giggle, and I would feel a pang of jealousy for not being included. I tried to mask my hurt with a fake laugh and cry, but deep down, I was feeling more and more alone.
I had a circle of friends, but I truly never felt “included.” To the people who know me that may seem shocking, but I never felt like I belonged with any particular group no matter how I dressed, acted, talked, or what I did. Like a chameleon, I did my best to adapt to my surroundings, yet I felt like an outsider.
Wasn’t there anywhere I belonged? Wasn’t there anywhere I would truly be accepted and loved?
In a society of selfies and seemingly pinterest-perfect lives, we have one of the highest rates of suicide, depression and anxiety. The pictures we post only share the good moments and the truth is hidden behind a mask.
I take one scroll through Facebook or Instagram, and I’m reminded of those feelings of flipping through photos in the seventh grade. Loneliness creeps back into my heart, and I yearn for the true feeling of friendship and love. A love that doesn’t falter or change as the wind blows, but instead gives a true sense of belonging.
John 1:12: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
Jesus, the same One who whispered peace into my life when I was seven years old, still whispers the reminders of His love that is greater than any we experience on earth. And nothing, nothing can separate us!
Romans 8:38-39: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
In our loneliness, there is true belonging.