The candle tells her
The knife tells her
The rope tells her
The scale tells her
The people tell her
Then they say
-Yourself ain’t good enough
And death says
My very earliest poetry’s pretty miserable. Both subject wise and in terms of skill and craft.
Not too long ago, after a particularly unfortunate day, my daughter handed me a new book she was given for Christmas and asked me to read it. You Are Special by Max Lucado. I think I got more out of it than she did, despite being written for people her age. I needed the reminder that day. It doesn’t matter how other people judge us, all that matters is what God sees.
In the terms of the story I get almost exclusively grey dots. Or, for those who haven’t read it (go read it!) I get put downs. I get told what I should do or how I don’t measure up or what I’m lacking. I wasn’t born with any particular skills or talents. Just an old soul and a slightly above average brain. I’m clumsy and plain and short and near sighted. I struggle to memorize when I have to. I don’t think I’ve ever been the first picked for anything, once in a great while I was second-to-last which felt good not to be very last.
I think I write reasonably well today, I’ve put almost two decades of practice and effort into it. It makes my day to have one reader stop and comment kindly here. Compliments are such a rarity that I treasure each and every one. I’m getting much better at not letting people’s opinions stick to me, at spending more time with God and less time trying to be good enough.
I try to remember to build other people up when I can, to offer sincere compliments even when I have to dig deep to find something I like. Feeling enough and appreciated goes a long way for most of us.
The girl who wrote the poem lived almost entirely alone. Her parents were busy, her classmates didn’t want to give a chance to the girl-who-skipped-a-grade. She was constantly teased and taunted, being ignored was an improvement. The world is a cruel place, tell someone, everyday, they are enough just how they are.