by Nicole Paepke
Yesterday I was sitting in my car before my shift started at work and I was observing the birds on the telephone wires. There was a big cluster of them, hopping around, chirping with another. A few feet off was a single bird perched all by himself. He was staring off into the distance, no chirping came from his beak. A minute later I saw one of the birds from the mass fly over to sit right next to the lonely one. It took a while but eventually the two joined in conversation and fluttered around together.
Sometimes we are the single bird who feels completely invisible to the crowds of people we may be surrounded by. Just another drop in the ocean. One of the 3,000 students at high school. We may either exclude ourselves or be excluded from others. All of us at one point or another in this life will be the single bird perched by ourselves. If we all know how it feels, then why when we see someone struggling do we leave them to be alone?
The simple answer is fear, but fear itself is not all that simple. Fear holds us back from accomplishing our hopeful desires in life. It restricts, cheats, and deceives us. It leaves an empty hole inside our souls and haunts the thoughts of our mind. Going to war, getting in a car accident, moving from home. Those are scary things. Why do we think it’s such a scary thing to reach out to someone? All it takes is a smile!
I think many people are fearful of rejection. How many times have you walked past someone sitting all alone at lunch and the thought came to you to invite them to sit with you or to say hi to them but you ignored it? Justification kicks in the back of your mind telling you that their friends are just getting their lunch, or that they wouldn’t want to talk to someone like you. It’s easy to be caught up in the cluster of birds.
What we need is more courage. We need more friendly birds who are willing to be different from the flock. Those who put aside their pride in an attempt to make a difference in someone else’s life. It’s important to remember that not everyone opens up quickly and it may be hard to accept friendship or help when you’ve been alone for so long. It takes time, as with the birds. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! There may be another down the road who needs you specifically. Don’t give up on others, and definitely don’t give up on yourself.
I challenge you to be the bird who leaves the group to reach out to another. Be somebody’s friend! Smile! Complement often! Send a text to let them know you care. You never know how much the small things can end up meaning to someone.