Friday, December 6, 2013


     So at the beginning of the fall semester (2013), I was taking a probability and statistics class, as well as 6 other classes at the time. I would show up to class, sit in the back, quietly complete my work on my own, turn it in and leave. Nobody really said anything about that, nobody really noticed or cared about my existence, just the way I like a class to be.
     Things changed mid-semester, when my grandfather died. I was very close to him, and helped to provide care for him over the past few years as he dealt with Alzheimer's and dementia. His death hit me hard; I just couldn't stop crying and grieving. The heartache from losing him was almost tangible; I was an emotional wreck.
     So in the middle of the fall semester (2013), I was still taking that probability and statistics class. I would show up to class, usually in tears, or face all red and swollen from crying so much, and I'd sit in the back, quietly crying to myself while completing my work on my own. Once finished, I'd wipe the tears off my face, walk to the front of the class, hand my paper in and then leave the classroom like some kind of melancholy zombie.
     Things changed. People noticed that. People will notice you if you consistently cry in the back of class. They may never ask a reason, they may never ask if you're alright, but they'll notice it.
     Suddenly, I'd hear the row of 3 girls at the front speaking in Spanish and laughing. At first it was just an annoyance to me (I was in the anger stage of grief, probably), but then I realized what they were laughing about, and it cut me like a dagger. They were talking about me, "La Chica Llorando", or "The Crying Girl". They were making fun, saying maybe my boyfriend dumped me, or maybe I got a bad grade on my lab report, etc., trying to find reasons why I would be crying, and laughing about it. They did all this in Spanish; a language they (incorrectly) assumed I couldn't understand because I look white.
     At first, I was enraged. Not only do I have this stress and emotions already, but now they mock me for my grief? How could they! Why would they even think to do this; why wouldn't they just ask me what's wrong! How cowardly, to hide behind a "secret language" that I wouldn't understand to talk smack about me! How much lower can one go than this?!
     Eventually, I grew accustomed to it. They'd talk about me, make fun of me, etc. I grew to accept that. As the semester progressed, I grew stronger as a human being, I overcame my grief and stress, and began to thrive in school again. No longer did I cry in class, no longer was I heartlessly angry at these girls for what they had said about me. And as long as I wasn't crying, nothing was said about me, other than simple musings about how the "chica llorando" got the highest grade in the class while they failed that assignment.
None of them ever knew I speak Spanish; none of them knew that I understood every mean-spirited word that came out of their mouths.
     I contemplated speaking to them in Spanish; confronting them wasn't on the forefront of my mind, but just make a passing comment to them in Spanish, just so they'd know, and maybe feel ashamed. I thought better of it; I didn't want to stoop to their level. Instead, my heart softened towards these girls. I wanted to care about them, and just shower them with love and kindness, which would inevitably evoke feelings of guilt for what they had done. Ultimately, though, whether they felt guilt or not, I wanted them to experience the great love of the Saviour that I personally have. When the Lord  loves you so much, it sort of overflows from your heart into the lives of others. That's what was happening here; this was of no goodness of my own heart.
      My opportunity came one day. I overheard one girl, freaking out because her father was having a partial heart transplant in a week. I thought to myself "This is it. Go tell her it's gonna be ok; tell her about Brian." And so I did. I sat down next to her, and said "I couldn't help overhearing, your father is getting a heart transplant?" "Yes" she said, with absolute sadness and fear in her voice. "You know, my little brother had a full heart transplant a year ago. Everything went incredibly well; the technology in the medical field is amazing these days. The success rates for these types of surgeries have skyrocketed! I have no doubts that your dad will be well taken care of; the doctors know what they're doing, trust me. But I also know how scary it is, and how difficult it is to wait around for the transplant to occur. I just want you to know that I'll be keeping you and your father in my prayers. Here's my number in case you have any questions or just want somebody to talk to. I'll be praying for this all.". Her face was shocked; she could hardly speak. She managed to utter a stunned "thank you" as a tear rolled down her cheek. My heart was at ease, for the time being. I knew I had done my part. I had shown her, previously unlovable to me, the love of Christ, and I had attempted to encourage her. Clearly that was so out of the norm for her, to have a stranger say all that, especially a stranger that she had been "secretly" making fun of and saying hateful things about all semester.
     Time passed. It was the last day of probability and statistics class, my only class with her. I sat in the back, working alone as always. I wanted to ask about her dad, how the surgery went; tell her I've been praying for her and her dad and the whole situation, just like I said I would. The entire class, I just sat back there and thought about how to approach all that with her. I was planning out what to say, how to say it. For maybe 5 minutes, I bent my head down, focusing on my work. When I looked up, she had left. This was the last day of class. My last chance to find out about her dad, to let her know that I have been and will continue to be praying for her dad and her family during the recovery process. The last chance I had was gone. I felt a strange sense of regret; "Why didn't you just go up there and ask, idiot?! Why did you wait for a perfect time?! Why did you waste time planning that?! Now she's gone and you'll never see her again.". Needless to say, my heart was greatly burdened, and I was quite vexed with myself. I missed a great opportunity to share the love of Christ with this girl, who had been previously so blown away that any person would show interest and compassion to her. A marvelous opportunity: gone. My heart was heavy.

     I received an email from the professor of that class, saying she had lost one of my labs, and I needed to come in during office hours and redo it. So after the last class, when I missed my opportunity, I went to the office hours and redid my lab. Again, head bent over my work, focusing on getting my work done, I heard the door open. Somebody walked in, put their stuff at the front desk, and started working on something. It was office hours; anybody from any of the probability and stats labs could come in or out at any time. I looked up, eventually, not thinking much.

It was her.

     A second chance! That God would allow this second chance at closure with this girl, whom I had previously harboured hatred in my heart for, who had previously made fun of me, talked smack about me, and shown nothing but hostility to; this girl was in the classroom again, and not by chance.
     I wasn't gonna mess up this time. No planning. Nothing of the sort. "Just get up and ask her, Chibz. God will give you the right words." I pushed my chair back, which startled everyone else in the room, and I marched up to the front, and crouched down in front of her desk so I was at eye level. I asked softly, "Hey, I never got the chance to ask you, how did your dad's surgery go? I've been praying about it, and for your family for weeks now, but never got the chance to ask you how it went." Again, she looked shocked, but pleasantly so. She told me that he's recovering quite well, and that it looks like he may be home for Christmas. I said "Oh, praise God! What an answer to prayer! Well, I just want you to know that I'll continue to pray for a speedy recovery for him, and strength for your family during this holiday season; I know how hard it is in the holidays with a loved one in the hospital. I've got to go now, but please take care and have a wonderful Christmas! Hopefully your dad will be home to join you!" And I smiled at her genuinely, hoping that the words I had spoken encouraged her.
     A tear formed in her eye again. She just said "Thank you so much, it means a lot. Thank you so much... Merry Christmas and God bless you!" And then she smiled, too.

     Second chances like that are rarely afforded, especially when it comes to talking to strangers or people we don't know. My mind is blown that I had that opportunity to hopefully bless her and encourage her and just show her the love of Christ. 

     The Chica Llorando may be strange, and easy to make fun of, but the crying girl wants more than anything to share the love of Christ that she's found with everyone now, even the people that laugh at her. God is so good and faithful to provide, even rare second chances like this one. My interactions with this girl are complete. My heart is at ease, no longer burdened for things unsaid to her. I have obtained closure. God is good.

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