At the beginning of this blog series I introduced to you a little girl who was in my elementary school. I see her as an example of a real life, rag doll human character. What I didn’t tell you is how my memory of her teaches me today from what I saw in her character. May I continue to connect some dots with that story so that we might learn from it?
That little girl was scorned and excluded because she was poor and ragged. We were children. We didn’t know better. Like many children, we were cruel. We thought we were the standard and she was a dirty disease to avoid. We avoided her. But she didn’t see us that way. She saw us as a safe place to be around and she enjoyed watching our laughter and games, even though she wasn’t included. I saw her often laughing with us as she listened in at a distance. Oh, how I wish I could have laughed like she did? I needed a reason. She always found one.
She saw school as a place she could learn and be educated. We hated school, for we hated being forced to learn. She loved it and we saw her smile when the teacher spoke. I see it now so plainly. She knew something we did not. Oh, how I wish I had seen what she saw then?
She got to eat what she thought was a great meal, when we thought our lunchroom meal was horrendous. Beets and greens that we hated, she cherished. I could see it on her face when she took a bite. It couldn’t have been better for her had it come from the finest of restaurants. Maybe it was because she had so little at home? She was so grateful for what was before her. Oh how I wish I knew how to see those meals as she did, and have the grateful spirit she had?
Her clothes were a laugh to us. But they were a joyful companion to her on a cold day. Her coat was like all her other clothes … ragged … faded … out of style. But it kept her warm and she snuggled into it like it was an expensive fur coat. Oh, how I wish I could have enjoyed my coat like she did? What was missing in me?
Her heart had to be tender. But I wouldn’t know it for sure, for I would never had allowed myself to get to know someone like her, and what made her as she was. My heart was hard. She wasn’t good enough, I thought. But God gave me an example with that little girl with what a tender heart must look like, and one that I should want to have?
Wanda-Gayle was God’s kinda gal. She showed a lot of Jesus in her, even though I don’t know if she professed Him. I told people that I knew Jesus. But she showed us that she probably did know Him, when it was doubtful that I really did? I now see that Jesus is best seen through us rather than just words or identification that we speak. That little girl taught me this by the way she lived her life.
Today I look around me and try to spot any Wanda-Gayles that cross my path. “Oh Dear Lord,” I pray, “Let me not miss an opportunity to lift someone up like her again. Let me see the poor in spirit, the downcast by the world’s standards, the hidden gems that You have laid on my path as blessings from You to me to learn from. Father let me be a blessing to this person You have given to me? Let me not forget that this is Your child?”
As I close this series, I ask you to do the same as I am led? I ask you to accept your identity as reconcilers, peacemakers, trailblazers and influencers who point to Jesus by the way you live out your life with love and kindness. Learn from the special ones God puts in your life. Don’t exclude them because they don’t look the part. Listen to them. Respect them, and perhaps you will hear as I did, through a little rag doll girl, the voice of Jesus. I think He sounds and acts a lot like her.
“Lord Jesus, I want to be like that little girl. Will You help me see life and people as she did? She knew a whole lot about life and people that I didn’t know. Help me learn from people like her. Thank You for breaking my hard heart and opening my eyes to people around me who are Your voice to me. I needed it. But help me to keep listening to You through these invisible and unknown ones, people who have no claim to fame or anything to beat their chest about . They show me You and the life You want me to live better than anyone that can represent You. Never let me be deaf to them again. To Your glory I ask this. Amen”