We’ve all heard the expression, ‘too many cooks spoil the broth,’ right?
Zoë broke my heart one afternoon. Two of her wee friends had decided that she wasn’t worth including that day.
‘Lucy and Emily* said I was boring,’ she told me, in a defiant tone, but with eyes that searched for reassurance, and her upper lip still quivering with rejection.
It felt like someone was stabbing my heart (I’m sure all you parents have been there!), but I tried to keep my response lighthearted.
‘Well, what do you think? Were they right?
‘No, because I’m not boring.’
‘Ah. Well that’s that sorted then! It didn’t feel nice, but you know it’s not true, right? So you don’t need to worry about it anymore.’
That seemed to satisfy her, and off she bounded, her happy self again. But she still relives that moment every so often, with the same sadness filling her expression as she remembers.
The moment when there wasn’t room.
Have you ever felt or been told there wasn’t room for you? That people didn’t know what to do with you? That no one noticed you? That no one thought you were worth inviting?
Zoë’s wonderful teacher has a great rule for her class that I think we could all do with living by.
‘We are all friends here. We don’t have to play together, but there’s space for everyone to play.’
There’s space for everyone to play.
What a great rule for all of life’s classrooms: our families, our communities, our churches, our organisations and our workplaces.
What if there was always room?
- Room to develop
- Room to grow
- Room to celebrate each other’s strengths
- Room to allow for mistakes and weaknesses
- Room to be real without being judged
I often dream of a world where there’s always room. Where there’s always space to play.
A world where another person’s beauty and talent does not mean an absence or lessening of your own.
A world where no one feels threatened, belittled, compared, left out, or rejected.
A world where everyone is friends; not in a claustrophobic, possessive way, but in the sense of a willingness to welcome others into the space we inhabit.
That world we will see someday in full colour. Jesus said, ‘In my father’s house, there are many rooms.’ There’ll be room in heaven for all of us to live, laugh, love, worship and serve.
But for now, let’s look around.
- Who can we give space to grow?
- Who can we encourage?
- Who can we invite in?
- Who can we include?
- Who can we celebrate?
I know I’m an idealist. But maybe it’s realistic to hope to witness fewer moments in this life where there isn’t room.
*The names used above are substitutes for the real ones.