Reading Sarah Markley’s blog about a popular redhead in her growing up years jogged my memory in a different direction. I remembered my early Elementary School years. I remembered an outsider, an overweight redhead girl dappled with hundreds of blotchy freckles, a major overbite, bad hair, and a “pick on me” personality. I’ll call her Lisa (not her real name). Some people say, “I have no friends,” and they just mean they don’t have any BEST friends. Well, Lisa didn’t have a soul. Not a one. She was utterly, completely alone. All the time.

We were mean to her. Viscious. We all were. We laughed at her, poked at her, teased her, sang awful songs about her. We repeatedly shot arrows into her heart and we had fun doing it. We were evil. WE were. Me too.

Fifteen years later I had grown up some and fallen in love with Jesus. One day I was driving down the street and I saw Lisa in someone’s front yard. A couple of days later I drove by again, curious. She was there again. This time with an older couple. Her parents, I guess. Still living at home.

And my heart shattered into a million pieces. I suddenly hated myself — if not all of myself, that part of me that had played a part, however small, in forcing one of God’s beloved princesses into hiding in a dark tower. Tears stung my eyes and marked my cheeks with salty regret. I hurt SO BAD. Not for myself. Please, no. For her. For the life we’d tortured her with in such formative years.

After praying about it — a lot — I bought a card and put her name at the top. I confessed to being one of the cruel boys in her childhood who made her life so miserable. I apologized and told her she was loved. That she was beautiful. I bunched the card with a big bouquet of flowers and left them on her doorstep — the gate of the dark tower encasing her life. Anonymously, thinking maybe that would be best.

Hoping that for one day at least, Lisa would feel like a princess.

Because she is one, you know.

Maybe you know a Lisa too?