The hallway seemed poorly lit. The shadowy corners of the corridor gave the impression it was later than the first period after lunch. I needed to hurry or I was going to be late and Mr. Richardson hated when students walked into his classroom minutes after the bell rang.
Everyone seemed to have exited the dreary locker-lined halls. Everyone except for myself and the two "goth" girls lingering halfway down the halls. They leaned lazily against one wall turning to watch as my hurried steps echoed on the scruffy tiled floors.
I heard a giggle followed by another and saw them shifted away from their scratching post. I wondered why I suddenly had goosebumps up my arms but I had no time to process the thought. Both girls had stepped out in front of me bringing my feet to a complete stop. I could hear my heart racing in my chest and I noticed the smirk on their faces were anything but friendly; their black lips void of any sheen. I tightened the grip on my books to keep my hands from shaking. Nerves had set in and though I did not want to show any fear, I think it was written all over my face. New girl, new school, new life.
They circled me like two wolves around a mouth-watering prey making sure I had no clear path to flee. They giggled again, one after the other, and I wondered if they had rehearsed; they were so in sync.
I pretended to be brave and stared one straight in the eyes then the other. They looked at each other, giggled again and stepped away from me. My escape. I want to say I walked but the fact is I think I ran.
It didn't bother me that Mr. Richardson's furrowed brows and piercing glare followed me, obviously angry at my late intrusion. I sat at my desk and blinked back the tears. I know for sure I did not absorb any math that day.
Though those two girls had not laid a finger on me, I still felt assaulted and my heart was bruised. I tried to process the emotions that followed.
Fear. What if it happened again? What if next time it got worst?
Then fear gave way to anger and then shame. Why did I let them intimidate me like that? Why didn't I fight back?
It would take years for my heart to heal. Undoubtedly, those girls had no idea of the damage they did. At least, I hoped not.
That was 32 years ago but I remember the incident as if it were yesterday. My experience pales in comparison to what so many others have had to walk through; maybe still going through. Still it came with the same wounds. Wounds that needed to be healed for my heart to be freed of those two girls.
Unfortunately, it still happens to many today. Not just in the hallways or playgrounds at schools but in work places, in homes and sadly, in churches. The methods may differ but the effect the same.
OH BUT FOR GOD!!!
Why bring God into it?
Because, when you are in that moment when it feels like there is no air left to breath...
...when you feel you have no strength left to take a breath even if there was air.
...that place when you have no tears left to cry.
...that place where it hurts so bad you can't feel the pain.
In that moment when He is the only One who can hear you when you whisper.
The only One who hears your scream when you don't make a sound.
The only One who truly sees you when you feel invisible to everyone else.
"He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3
original image from pixabay.com