As my friend walks near me, I see her in a different light. We are accustomed to joking with one another, greeting one another with a warm welcome and a friendly smile. I knew this morning would be different. She would be different.
"Don’t hug me." Her red-rimmed eyes speak to her struggle to maintain composure. I recognize the emotions swimming in her blue eyes: anger, disbelief and hurt. She appears fragile as she takes a seat across from me – almost as if she were adjusting herself around a fresh bruise.
"Okay. No hugs. But know that I want to give you one."
Rejection: a word embedded within the Latin meaning "to throw back." For something to be thrown back, it must be received by another with one or more of the senses (touch, hearing, taste, smell, and sight). A person can touch a letter, hear a plea, taste a kiss and smell the lingering perfume of the woman he sees crying.
The part that is thrown back will not be returned in the same condition as when the line was thrown. Often hope is stripped from the hook. And when rejection hits, we are caught by vulnerability – wounded by exposure. It is not uncommon to experience both emotional and physical pain when feeling rejection.
Let feelings come – acknowledge them – give them a nod and invite them to sit beside you for a while. Do not reject the sting; a treble hook often made of embarrassment, disappointment, and discouragement. Whatever wounds you, call it by name. Take the hook out slowly and deliberately to not advance the damage. Begin to dress the wound with truth. The truth that risk expands our comfort zone. The truth that rejection often provides an opportunity to hone our skills, evaluate emotional areas that need fortifying, offer grace and mercy to self and others, and demonstrate our need for God above all things and all others.
Rejection reminds us of whose opinion truly counts. The world is composed of brokenness (including our own). Many use their jagged edges to hurt others or inflict pain upon themselves … sometimes both. A broken mirror will never give a clear picture. Only Jesus can restore - fully redeem us to God. His love never fails and never ends.
Jesus was thrown back and left to die by the very people He came to save. Yet, Jesus did not reject the sting. Nails of embarrassment, disappointment and discouragement did not keep Jesus on the cross. No. Love, mercy and grace took hold of Jesus so He could rise and take hold of us.
"I feel this way today, but know I won’t stay down for long," she says after we have talked.
"I know. I know you won’t," I reply. And I know this to be true because although she returned to herself not in the same condition as when she first threw the line of hope, she trusts the One who threads the eye. Jesus’ love, mercy, and grace yield more power than any rejection. No weapon can form a wound that Jesus cannot heal. And no one can hold a child of God down when God’s hand is upon her.
As my friend gathers herself and stands to leave, she looks at me with a peace that comes from a deep place where shifting winds cannot blow. The blue waters of her eyes begin to settle. I recognize a reclaimed portion of herself - a flicker of hope - perhaps weary and worn but present just the same.
"I’ll take that hug now," she says.
SGLY, dear reader.
(Smile, God Loves You.)
Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier; Instagram:@tiffanysgly; and Twitter: @tiffanychartier. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.