In July last year, I posted about Miss O being ostracised by 3 mean girls in her class. The situation was eventually resolved, but unfortunately this year she is in a new class and she is still quite lonely at school. She doesn’t have any close relationships with any of the girls in her class, and apparently spends most of the lunch hour on her own. She is creative by nature, so she used to spend it sitting outside the classroom drawing. But her school just opened a new building and so her classroom has moved to the new building on the second floor. Because the room is on the second floor, kids are not allowed to be on the second floor at lunchtime. So now she aimlessly wanders around the playground on her own. She would go to the library if she could, but the school has a policy of each year level being allocated one day per week to visit the library. If it is not your *day* you can’t visit the library at lunch time. (Probably the most ridiculous policy I have ever heard of).
She wants to change schools. In fact, I believe that she doesn’t want to go to school so badly that she has started feeling anxiety to the point of giving her tummy pain. Last week we spent all week seeing doctors – getting her an x-ray and ultrasound on her abdomen and eventually we spent hours in emergency so that we could rule out physiological problems. After much deliberation it was decided that part of her bowel was compacted and causing the pain. So I was instructed to ensure she stays hydrated, monitor her diet – make sure she gets plenty of fibre – and if the pain was to continue, I was to administer some laxatives. The doctors conceded that this entire problem could have been caused by emotional stress.
We are working on this – I have emailed the school principal with my concerns and have asked if we could meet, and perhaps get the guidance counsellor involved. I will follow this up next week. I am really aware that the grass is often greener on the other side – and with only a year and a half to go until she starts high school, I really want to be able to work through these issues where she is, instead of changing schools. That being said, if we don’t have a successful outcome soon, I may just be forced to change schools.
It can be hard to overcome childhood hurts.
Yes, hurts can make you stronger, they can drive you to become successful. But left unchecked, childhood hurts can still affect your self esteem in adult life; affect what you believe about yourself and the way you relate with others.
In my post last year, I spoke about how I was tossed ‘out’ of my group of friends when I was in year 8 and how much that hurt.
Excerpt from my post: 3 Little Bitches
Once I got to high school, things changed a lot. I was still ‘ugly’ and skinny, flat chested, with short brown hair and thick eyebrows. But I was thrown into a new group of people and for the first time ever, I had a group of friends. I wasn’t in the popular group by a long shot, but I had a group of friends and it felt great. I felt like I belonged.
Then about half way through grade 8, one day, I was ‘out’. I tried to join in with my friends and I was told I was out of the group. Just like that. With no warning. Needless to say I was devastated. I went home that night and cried about it.
Ironically only a few weeks before, one of the main girls in the group had invited me to a youth group event at the local uniting church. Now she was kicking me out of the group. I told mum about it and she told me to tell her that for someone who was meant to be a Christian, she wouldn’t even make a Christian’s bootlace. The next day, I confronted her in anger, and yelled at her, including my mums insult (even though I didn’t really understand what that meant until much later).
It didn’t kill me. But it hurt. And the whole situation is something I have thought about in my life from time to time…. and when I do… the hurt is still there.
So… last year I started going to a church congregation.
And who happened to be at the church… but the girl who had kicked me out of the group all those years ago.
My first thought was “Ugh! Not her! No way am I going to come to this congregation if she is here.” I was still holding onto that childhood hurt. It was more than 20 years ago, but it still hurt. But then I thought to myself. “Too bad. This is the church I want to go to. I am not going to stop going here just because she is here”. Still not over the hurt, but determined to not let it stop me doing what I wanted to do.
Even worse, she was now friendly towards me. I hoped that she might just ignore me, pretend she didn’t really know me. But that was not to be. So I was friendly in return, as much as was necessary, falling back on my habit of keeping people at arms length.
Experiencing depression and anxiety recently, I stopped attending church for the first half of this year. Not because I didn’t want to go, but because I was just too exhausted by the end of my working week to care. But I didn’t like the way my life was feeling, the way my mind was spiralling, so a few weeks ago, I decided that I would commit to ensuring that I go to church each week.
So its been a few weeks and for the first two Sundays I smiled through my conversations with her, inwardly wishing that the conversation could come to an end. I knew that i could not keep on harbouring these feelings of unforgiveness, but at the same time I was kind of afraid to let them go.
Then today after the service, just before we were about to leave, she said that she had something to talk to me about.
And she told me that a while ago, God had shown her that she needed to apologise to me for her behaviour towards me back then. And she said that she was sorry and asked for my forgiveness. We talked and we hugged and I accepted her apology.
Did I feel light and free straight away?
Did a burden magically lift off my shoulders?
I drove home with feelings of ambivalence and sadness.
But I know that I need to overcome this childhood hurt and let it go, because holding onto it now is only going to hold me back.
In the Lords prayer, God instructs us to forgive others.
“…Forgive us our trespasses… As we forgive those who trespass against us…”
Truth be told. I am wary. I am afraid of letting her in and being hurt again.
But I have been given a chance that not many others have. A chance to heal from my childhood hurt. A chance to move forward. Perhaps in time, a chance to regain a friendship that I once considered special.
I have a chance to let go of the baggage.
Forgiveness is a choice. I can choose to forgive, or I can choose to hold on to the hurt.
Yes, it is scary.
But I am strong.
I can choose to forgive.
I will choose to forgive.
I choose to forgive.
As God has forgiven me.