My daughter once asked me if there was a hell and I replied “yes dear, it’s called middle school.”
I remember looking forward to middle school until I actually got there and learned about this thing called “the popular group.” How did this happen? Who got to decide who was in and who was out? And how did “they” come to the conclusion that I was out?
Now that my daughter is in middle school, I am looking on from a new perspective. I try to keep up with the drama, the hormones and the friendships, constantly making the mistake of assuming she’s still friends with this one or that one. Only to find out a week later that she is once again friends with this one or that one.
I am learning that I cannot go through this for her. She must navigate this hostile terrain for herself. I cannot tell her what to do or who to be. This is her rite of passage. She will make her choices, she will make some mistakes, but I will be there for her no matter what.
I imagine God feels much the same way as He looks down on us, His children. All of us are going through His middle school. He watches while we navigate the hostile terrain of life, knowing that we, too, will have to learn for ourselves, through our own choices, and sometimes through our mistakes.
As I wait patiently, watching my daughter grow into a beautiful swan, I think how much more infinitely patient is God. Offering His love, support and guidance along the way.
And perhaps God has His cosmic version of the popular group, but the difference is His group is available to everyone. “They” don’t get to decide my fate. I get to make that choice for myself.