“No one likes me.”

These were the words a forty-something year old slightly balding man mumbled to himself as he exited the Dollar Tree. Sitting there with my window half open, his words stopped me in my tracks.

It was a gloomy day filled with dark clouds, constant threats of rain, and rarely a patch of blue sky to be seen in the in-between. Living here in Oregon this year, I don’t think the weather likes us either.

I am not sure why I even noticed. Too often, I would have been too distracted with technology, my own stuff, or [fill in the blank] to have even taken the time to look up. Yet, there was something about him that planted the seed of awareness when he first walked past my car and into the store.

But, I had quickly forgot. How sad. He was only in the store for probably 4 minutes.

Quickly exiting the store, he was on a mission to somewhere. His black Chevy Blazer was parked 5 feet from me. I don’t even think he noticed me sitting in the car. Opening his passenger side door to place his bag on the backseat, he quickly circled around the back of his car, sat down, turned the ignition, backed up, and drove off.

My heart broke. What just happened there?

All I could do was sit there and wonder. What does it look like to live in such a way that such words would spill out so effortlessly? It made me ask myself a question we too rarely ask when we cross paths with such pain. Who hurt him?

Too often, especially in this world we now find ourselves in, we treat the effect as if it were the cause and then wonder why there is never any change. We instead trade asking questions for the much easier path of casting stones.

Who hurt this man? Was it when he was a child? Was he deserted by a parent? Was he abused by a family member? What would cause this forty-something year old slightly balding man to disrupt my day by walking past my car and mumbling these 4 words?

What am I supposed to do with this?

Perhaps show a little empathy? Perhaps show a little grace? Perhaps show a little patience? Perhaps show a little love? Maybe. But how can this be? We cannot give to others, what we ourselves don’t have.

Could this be where the answer lies?

If we can only give to others that which we already have, then what is it that we are giving to others? Could it be more hurt? For many, we’ve been hurt for so long that we don’t even realize it anymore. We just wake up to the same gloomy day filled with dark clouds, constant threats of rain, and rarely a patch of blue sky to be seen anywhere.

In this, we just go about our days mumbling the same 4 words. “No one likes me.”

Maybe it was this that was found in the someone who first hurt him? Now, for some, they will say to this, “Well, maybe nobody likes him because he is a…” 

But isn’t this how the cycle continues?

Maybe he doesn’t like himself because somebody before him didn’t like themselves? Maybe we as well would be good to ask of ourselves, who hurt us? Certainly, we all have to be accountable for our own actions and I am by no means making any excuses for the actions of others that has lead to hurt. 

But, this does make me think…

When’s it stop?

Friend, I don’t know who hurt you. I am so sorry you have been hurt. But I hope you know that you don’t need to carry this baggage any longer. You were never meant to carry it anyway. I truly hope you can come to this place of becoming unhurt. With all my heart, my hope for you this day is that someway and somehow, the only threat you will face is that of more blue skies, and that you would also come to know that you matter.

My friend, you also need to know one more thing and that is that you are not only liked, but also loved by the very Hands that made you, which by the way, are opened wide for specifically you this day.

Be embraced my friend. You really do matter.