For the great amount of love and affection that we get from our students, we always receive our fair amount of rejection. Generally it comes from the kids we have been loving on the most, the ones we believe in and spend the most time with. One day they are confiding in us, laughing with us, and begging for more time. The next they simply aren’t.
I know that there are many reasons why this happens, all amounting to it not being my fault. Perhaps they are testing the lengths of our love for them, or perhaps they know that no matter how many times they walk away from us, we will always be here waiting when they return. Or perhaps they are afraid, afraid of getting close and being rejected themselves. Perhaps they walk away out of fear.
Whatever the reason, it hurts. I guess it is a taste of being a parent. The ones you pour your whole heart into turn around and reject it. Certainly this must be how God feels when we turn our back on Him. It simply leaves me at a loss, a loss for what to do, for what to say, for how much to pursue or to push. Mainly it just makes me sad. Because I see greatness in them and I believe so much in what they can be, but with one “wrong” word they refuse to open the door to me, both figuratively and literally.
What I really want to do is push past the door and run in. I want to force them to face me so that I can tell them how this feeling of rejection or anger or whatever is in them isn’t true. I want to look them in the eyes and tell them that the devil is a liar and that I make mistakes, but I will never turn away from them. What I want is to scream from the rooftops that I don’t care what they did or what they do. The love of Christ that is in me is full of grace, and mercy, and forgiveness.
But I won’t do that. I will simply return to knock on the door tomorrow, and the next day, and forever more until they see that I’m not going to leave them to run this race alone. Because in the end, they are right. When they decide to return, I will be here, waiting on the stool behind the counter, without judgement or anger in my eyes. When they return I will welcome them with open arms and an undiminished love. Because I have poured my heart into them, and nothing they do can make me turn my back.