I flashed my metal-covered teeth in a half-smile to no one in particular as I entered the room, wrapping my arms protectively about my body. It’s cold, I reasoned with the voice of the coward inside myself. Despite the “cold,” my cheeks still burned as I made my way to the nearest opened seat. I set my backpack down and began pulling books out, engaging myself in a useless activity to appear busy, and hoping no one would notice me. No one did. I didn’t know which was worse.
When I had no books left to pull out of my backpack, I decided it was time to say hi; after all, I did know almost everyone here. Somehow, my usual, self-confident, outgoing personality vaporized in the frozen atmosphere of the room. I groped for something to say after the formal greeting, and failed. They became engaged with their close friends. I sat back down.
Class started. At least here I can participate, I thought cheerfully. Who knew participation was the next step to extinction? But the species “unpopular” has continuously resurfaced. No one has yet discovered the key to removing this weak link. At least those unlucky enough to find themselves in this genus can eventually evolve out of it.
Yet, I saw no light at the end of the tunnel, no future beyond this single year. All I saw was my failure to join the elite class. It felt like a war, a battle for survival; and only the fittest survived.
I never actually stopped to push my greasy hair out of my eyes and look. It was a step, painful, yes, but needful, nonetheless, to the completion of my person. God uses His own version of evolution, sanctification. By dragging my over-sized feet through this experience, God opened His arms for me to seek His comfort, His friendship, His shield against the battle for worldly acceptance. I couldn’t survive this alone. But I didn’t have to. I cannot survive anything alone. But I don’t have to.