Do you remember that girl in your high school class that won all the beauty pageants, homecoming votes, and most everything votes? That wasn’t me and I daresay it wasn’t you as those people are rare – I mean there is just one prize and many of us. My friend tells me she was never the rose-carrying, crown wearing winner but always nominated!! It was her best friend who always won! So true for many of us…
…so a month ago when a young girl I know was crowned Homecoming Queen, it was delightful for my friend and me to hold her roses! We wanted to wear the crown but resisted snatching it off her beautiful head :)! The celebration was outstanding that evening. Hundreds of hugs and congratulations were heard and felt. So many mega-watt smiles and pictures were taken – all of us wanting to be pictured with the Queen. This precious girl is loved by many and had a night of nights that will long be remembered.
There was another girl in the stadium that night. She too, was excited about Homecoming, the celebration and the dance. She too was thrilled when the Queen and King were announced. It was a grand night for her and her friends. But this girl was more invisible than the Queen. This girl had been sliding away for several years, present but distant. Good friends she had known her whole life were remote from her and she from them. She had changed; they had changed.
The night wore on with loud music, laughter, dancing, tears, fears, choices, pictures, whispers, kisses and finally home to bed. Exhausted.
When morning broke the Queen’s crown was thrown aside, the dress lay crumpled on the floor, the flowers in water but wilting. The quiet girl woke in her home with her mom at her side. Confused, troubled and safe. Homecoming was over and new paths lay ahead as bad choices had been made. Paths that now needed the comfort of friends. Would anyone reach out to her? Would anyone notice her need for friends? Her dress lay crumpled on the floor, her high heels thrown off, and the invisible ‘crown’ of this sweet girl lay broken at her feet. Our choices can do that to us and will.
It’s so very easy for me to get caught up in the celebration of today that I lose sight of those around me who are hurting. I often forget that the crowns we receive in this life are all going to melt away. The crowns, the roses, the dresses, the beautiful homes, the great careers….all gone. But the people…the people we encounter have an eternal choice. It’s so easy to overlook those who are difficult to love or those who look different from me. I love the pomp and circumstance of being around the Queen and her celebrants but I learned that weekend that the true gift of love comes from those anonymous times we offer and give love to those who have been rejected or cast away. It’s when we act and no one sees. It’s when we give and no one knows….it’s how Jesus loves you and me. He loves the quiet ones, the downcast, the different, the non-popular, the ones who hurt, and the ones who make silly decisions. Can I love like that? Can I be Jesus to someone today?
The next day, the quiet girl still full of confusion and pain received a visitor. The new Homecoming Queen stopped by for a visit. She knew her friend was in pain. Gone was the crown, the fancy dress, the beautiful roses and all that remained was a Love given by our God, our KING, to live out in real life.
Thank you, Lord for living through this little queen.
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:3-4