Letter to the Lonely Girl

Dear Lonely Girl,

I saw you often around campus. It was hard to miss you, the campus and student body being small enough that every face was familiar, even if it was impossible to learn everyone’s names — and I’m ashamed that I never learned yours.

You were always walking by yourself, you always took your meals alone, sitting at least several seats away from the nearest group, though you chose a table by yourself when you could. You never seemed to hang out with anyone, you never seemed to have friends. You never smiled that I saw, never laughed at a joke because there was never anyone at your side to deliver the punchline. I wondered often if you even had any friends, if you somehow got through your four years without ever making a single personal contact. It crossed my mind a time or three that maybe it would be Christ-like to establish a friendship with you.

But I never did. You weren’t attractive to me in any way. Physically, you were homely. Your personality seemed likewise as attractive. It would cost me discomfort and sacrifice to go out
of my way to introduce myself to you, and I didn’t want to disrupt my finely established routine. I justified it by telling myself that I just didn’t have the time, that my classes were keeping
me too busy, that my inner circle of friends needed me too much in order to sacrifice any of my time and attention on someone outside my usual circle of activity. Deep down, though, I knew better. I knew I was just making excuses. Honestly, I was afraid, and I considered you to be beneath me. This is a mistake that I now regret.

I wonder how much it would have changed your life if someone had shown you some grace. I wonder how many other students ever went out of their way to befriend you. I wonder a lot of things about you and where you are now and how you are doing. I wonder if you are happy and if you have any more friends now than you did then. I wonder, if given the opportunity to go back and do it again with the knowledge I now have, if I would have done it any differently. I
can only hope that I have grown and changed for the better, that I will not make the same mistake again with the next person. Christ loved the worst sinners of his day just as much as he loved the socially acceptable. Why should I not be able to extend the simplest of courtesies to someone like you, a presumably normal human being who is no better or worse than me?

Given the opportunity to meet you in person, I hope I will have the courage to walk up to you and introduce myself. It won’t make up for having not done so in college, but what was done wrong before does not have to remain so.

Your friend (hopefully)

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