I was in the third grade when it first happened. The fact that I would remember this is pretty significant considering how much I forget. I sat in my chair and drew. I can still feel it at times, that warm tingle spreading down from the back of my head covering my senses with fuzzies. All I was doing was drawing a chimney in perspective for a Christmas picture. The other children hovered around me each trying to gain a peek. One young man in particular, the jock of the class, he was the instigator. I had found my niche. If I drew, they would like me.
I remember how in forth grade I gained a friend who was a bully by killing him with kindness. I’m not sure where the idea came from. He was mean, and I decided to be nice.
I six grade everything changed. I had grown up with friends. I played well, had fun, but six grade was the dark year that turned into three. Six grade was the year I learned how worthless I was. I remember several incidents. One was, that I was sitting on the ground, indian style, as every boy in my class threw raisins at me, taunting me, mocking me. What had I done to deserve this treatment? Nothing that I know of, even now. I had been held back in second grade, so my sister and I now attended classes together. I was only held back because I couldn’t sit still and, I’m not sure about this, but it may have been effecting my grades. My mother and the teacher both agreed that I need some extra time to learn to pay attention. At the beginning of the six grade year, my sister and I were tested for the gifted program. I remember how happy I was playing with my friends at the beginning of that year. When both of us scored high on our test, we were very excited, but we had to move to a new school. The name of the school was Webster, again, odd that I would remember. There was one class in this school for the gifted children; one class of twenty to thirty kids who had grown up together, who were very tight. I was the new kid. My sister being a girl assimilated quickly. The girls in the class were nicer, plus if you know Melanie, there is a lot to like. I on the other hand, I was outcast from day one.
I remember that at some point my desperation to ‘just be left alone’ brought me to a breaking point. I grab one kid, twisted his arm behind his back and announced to the entire class that I would break it, if they didn’t leave me alone. As children do, they thought that this crisis was real, that I really had the power to break his arm, that this was a real life and death situation. I’m not sure what I was thinking. When you take a hostage, you should at least plan to escape. I was running purely on desperation, I only wanted the pain to stop. That child was never in any real danger. I didn’t know how to break an arm, nor did I possess the strength do accomplish such a feat. What I really did was destroy any hope I might of had of finding a friend, and so secured two more years of rejection.
It is almost like, around the age of twelve or thirteen a switch is pulled in the minds of children, and they start to destroy each other in a game of King of the Hill. Apparently, I stink at that game. By the time I got to high school, I was a shell of a person. My family moved again and we started over in a new school, Niceville High. But, I had learned to hate everyone, including myself. I still might be in that state if it wasn’t for God’s speaking love and acceptance to me…
Here is the snare. In third grade I learned I could find love by doing. In six grade I learned that I didn’t deserve love. So, now the only love I would ever find was through performance. I wonder how many people are still stuck in junior high, looking, hoping for love.
The path to freedom awaits, it is as simple as trusting Jesus to wash all of that away, as He speaks a new identity over you. You can have a new life, as you learn to hear His love.