I had a creative writing class in 7th grade.
I made friends with the girl who sat behind me. We'll call her P.
P was different than me in almost every aspect.
She had gorgeous dark skin and the brown eyes that I so coveted.
She was a year older than me and way too wise in the ways of this world.
She'd been taken advantage of in more ways than I can recount on this blog. Her self worth was in the red. The people that should've cherished her ignored her, and they didn't care that this little girl was living a woman's life.
For some reason, P and I bonded. Well, she bonded. I had very little to share in comparison to her stories, so I just listened, absorbed, nodded as if I'd heard it all before.
I was only twelve years old. A little more fascinated by the world she lived in than I should have been, I was eager to hear her stories. I loved stories, and her world was so far from mine that it almost didn't seem real.
Suddenly, mid-year, she didn't come to class for a few weeks. I had the sweetest teacher who deeply cared for us. She and I had a special bond formed over a common love of writing, so she was gracious when I asked where P was, but she could only tell me that she was sick, and that she would be back.
P returned with scars everywhere, even on her neck. I wanted to ask, but I didn't. She eventually shared, little by little, that she'd had some crazy fight with her step-dad and that it involved broken glass. And she had tried to hurt herself.
She didn't share as much with me from that point on. Before the class was over, she did give me a picture of herself with a short note on the back. I remember it because I was embarrassed my mom would be mad when she saw it (she wasn't, of course). It said, "Sarah, thanks for being a bad a** friend."
Again, I was twelve. I was caught up in my own little world. I should've thought to invite her over to my house, to give her a chance to be loved on by my parents. I just didn't.
I don't even know if she remembers me, but I remember so much about her.
I remember how her eyes were empty and framed by too much eyeliner under naturally long lashes.
I remember that she laughed sometimes and that it made her look young like me.
I remember how my heart truly broke for the very first time for my friend.
I still ache for her.
I hurt for her emptiness, her loneliness.
P was a small seed in my formative little heart. She cracked it open to hurting for others, taught me to dwell beyond my small, small world.
I don't have anything to give you from this story, except for maybe a little part of my heart laid bare.
This is why I prayed to marry somebody in full time ministry. This is why I want to write. This is why I believe in MOPS or small groups or coffee dates or middle-of-the-night phone calls.
It's not just people that Jesus died for - it's persons. Individuals.
Jesus did die for the whole world. He died for all of Texas. He died for the whole middle school I attended.
I knew that, but getting to know P taught me that Jesus died for her. My heart didn't hurt for my school, it broke for this one girl. Just one little teenager huddled in the back of a trailer classroom with huge brown eyes and a very real broken heart.