A few years ago I received a friend request on Facebook. At first I didn't recognize the person but soon realized she was someone I had attended junior high school with. I also remembered that for a time in junior high she tormented me pretty heartlessly. We moved to the town in question when I was in sixth grade and left when I was in eighth grade, so I was not there for long. I did make some good friends during that time. But for some reason I was selected by others as an easy target, and quite a few of the girls made it their business to let me know I did not belong. It was rough.
When I got this woman's friend request I thought about just ignoring it. But then I thought, maybe she wants to make amends. Maybe she is sorry. So I accepted the friend request. Over the last couple of years we have had almost nothing to do with each other on Facebook. Instead I have watched as this poor woman has endured a pain I can't begin to imagine: the suicide of her adult son. Through that ordeal and its aftermath I have seen her cling to Christ as her only means of survival.
A few days ago I received a private message from this woman. She said she was going through her friend list and asked me how we knew each other. I wrote back and said we went to school together in junior high school but then I moved away. A little part of me wanted to say, "How can you not remember me? You made fun of me for several years!" But of course I didn't. I told her that I understood the desire to trim one's number of friends and I would completely understand if she wanted to trim me. She wrote back and said no, that wasn't her goal--she just wanted to place who I was and now she remembered friending me at the suggestion of another mutual friend.
I don't harbor anger for this woman. It was so long ago, and she was just a little girl (a scary, mean one, but a little girl nonetheless). I'm not really sure why I'm sharing this story. Perhaps it is simply an example of how long we tend to carry hurts around with us. I remember this woman calling me "Bleached Legs" like it was yesterday. It took me years, well into adulthood, to get to where I could wear shorts or skirts without stockings and not feel self-conscious about my white skin. But she doesn't even remember. It's stupid, isn't it, how we let those who have hurt us in the past continue to hurt us in the present when they have long ago forgotten and moved on?