Edify

EDIFY, the simplest definition is “TO LIFT UP”  I hope you will come to know why I chose that title, it’s open for suggestions if anyone has a better idea, and I would welcome any and all  feedback on any part of my writing attempts .  My story is about a little girl named LINDA SUE DALEY.

Linda was the daughter of a young preacher that didn’t have his own church yet, so they had moved several times in Linda’s young life.   Linda was a beautiful child.  She had a heart shaped face that was framed with the softest golden brown curls, and almond shaped green eyes that could make you forget what you were saying.  She was beautiful inside and out, and she was always able to make new friends quickly.  Soon after Linda moved to a new school, even the most rich and popular kids wanted to be her friend.

The school year had already started when Linda and her family moved to the small town of Maysville, Oklahoma.    Linda had been at her new school for a few weeks and found herself  growing more and more curious about this one little girl that would always sit at her desk with her head tilted down. The girl’s hair made a kind of curtain that hid her face almost completely.  She would be the last to go outside for recess, and usually the first one to go back to class.

One day Linda asked her new friends about the quite little girl.   ” OH! You talking bout ol’ Chicken Neck?”, they snorted and laughed.  “Cousin IT!”, I’m sure another one laughed.  “Just look at her! She’s weird.”     ” Look at how she dresses!” “Nothing but handmedowns and homemade handmedowns.”

Truthfully, I never knew exactly what was said, but apparently, they didn’t have any thing good to say!

That same day, just a minute or two after the bell had rung to go to recess, the little girl was peeking through her hair, waiting for the other kids to leave the classroom. She tried to avoid the mean things they would say and do to her if they got a chance without the teacher seeing them. The group seemed to be taking longer to go out that day.  She had seen Linda walk away from a group of girls – but, then, she realized that Linda was walking directly towards HER!

Panic and dread washed over the little girl, “OH NO! ” she cried silently.    Attention was seldom a good thing in her world, and she cringed as Linda walked toward her.

Linda walked up to the desk and looked down at the little girl and asked, “Do you want to play with me?”

The little girl quickly looked over to see if the group was already laughing at her.  Was this just one more mean joke at her expense? Had tormenting her turned into some kind of rite of passage for newcomers?

She studied the group, they weren’t giggling. They weren’t even looking in her direction. Yet.  She worried that it must be a pretty good prank and they didn’t want to give away the punchline too soon.

Her eyes searched Linda’s face for a motive, as she asked, “Why?”   Why she wondered?  Why would that pretty, popular girl want to play with ME, the poorest and most unpopular girl in the class?  This just wasn’t making any sense at all!

I braced myself for the answer, and I will never, ever forget how Linda looked me straight in the eye, with those beautiful green eyes of hers, and said, “Because I don’t think you are as bad as they say you are.”

We went outside and played jacks, and that’s how I got my very first friend.

Linda made me feel like I had a value to somebody besides my Mom, just because she gave me a chance.  I had sang those songs, Jesus loves me, loves the little children, all the classics. yeah yeah yeah…  I had been taught we were supposed to love our neighbor as ourselves,  I just hadn’t seen very much of it.

Linda WALKED the Talk.  Instead of joining the group to kick me while I was down, she stood against the crowd.  Linda lifted me up and treated me like I was worth something.  She really acted like she knew, that Jesus loved me too – and Jesus would want her to be kind to everyone…. even me.

Even me.

Linda moved again, just before school was out for the summer, and although I never saw her again, I think of her often, because that little girl, and her small act of kindness changed my life forever.  It’s been many years since I met Linda, my hair is turning silver and I’m still trying to be like Linda when I grow up.

Friends are family that you get to choose, and they are more precious to me than gold.

What I want you to learn from my story is this, no matter how little you are, you can always lift up another person.

A smile of acknowledgment and recognition that says “Hello Friend.” can lift the human heart like nothing else can. A smile of acceptance to a stranger that says, “Hello, I see you and like you already ” can change someone’s day for the better… maybe even their life.

I know y’all would never pick on another kid, but would you be a friend to the one being picked on?

 

Please share your thoughts! 😀 Thanks!

Judy

 

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One thought on “Edify

  1. Absolutely beautiful.

    I think it is rare that children truly realize the pain and hurt they are causing others, and often such unkind words and actions are the result of pain they have experienced.

    It’s always wonderful when a child realizes the power and grace they are capable of wielding in the lives of those around them. I’m grateful you had such a child and friend in your life.

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