Pick me! Pick me!
When I was a little girl, I had a yellow blanket, my blankie, that I took everywhere with me. I would rub it against my cheek as I would suck my thumb. I loved it so much that I wanted to share it with everyone. I have distinct memories of rubbing it against the cheeks of family members and friends. Problem was, no one else seemed to enjoy it as much as I did.
I couldn’t understand this at all! And I didn’t understand it until I stopped sucking my thumb and I discovered that my blankie wasn’t really anything special. It was just a blanket, devoid of the magical qualities I had hitherto believed it to possess.
No wonder everyone had looked at me as if I was strange!
Recently, I was reminded of this time in my life as my daughter was describing a scenario at school. She was trying to get the attention of some older students, so she would tap them on the shoulder and try to engage them in conversation. Problem was, they all ignored her.
She couldn’t understand it. Other 6th graders seemed to have no trouble and had developed a friendship with these older students and she wanted to be a part of the “in” crowd.
As she described the situation, I cringed a little. She was so focused on getting the attention that she was oblivious to the fact that they weren’t interested. Not only were they not interested, my guess is that they were turned off by her attempts to get attention.
It was like she was rubbing a blanket against their cheeks and expecting them to respond in the same way she would.
But sometimes, friendship doesn’t happen no matter how badly you want it. And either you can keep chasing after it and lose yourself in the chasing or you can acknowledge that you already have friends who “get” you, who will love you even when they don’t understand you and you can choose to pour into those friendships.
As we talked, I felt like I was giving advice to myself. How often (still!) do I try to fit in with the cool kids? How often do I find myself tapping shoulders, rubbing cheeks, jumping up and down saying “pick me! pick me!”?
I pondered these questions for a few days and I have been pleased to discover that I am not doing this as often as I have in the past. I have stopped “sucking my thumb”, which for me is people pleasing, and as a result, I am discovering that being known and being loved by everyone no longer has the allure that it once did. I am known and loved by my Shepherd King and he has blessed me abundantly with friends who love me for me. I don’t need to be noticed. I don’t need to be on the cool kid’s list.
I pray that my daughter learns these lessons much sooner than I did/am. It’s time to let go of the blankie!