Spending time away from the crowd during my free time in high school was a part of my training but I did not realise it at the time.
I was in fifth form at Wolmer’s Girls School in Saint Andrew, Jamaica.
Woohoo for my alma mater.
Fifth form meant it was soon time for final examinations. Everyone had already selected their subjects and were only going to the classes for the subjects that they would sit.
Each girl was doing between six to nine subjects which was less than we did in previous years.
Less subjects meant that we had more time so we were all given an official slot in our time timetables when we were free.
There was Stream C and F and some others.
Free time was not only time to study, it was the perfect time to get one’s hair done, laugh and talk on the green bench under the tree or catch up on the latest gossip.
My best friend Abeje was placed in Stream F with many girls who I thought were fun, pretty and popular.
As for me, I was placed in Stream C.
Just me and two other girls.
Did you hear me say two? Two!!
It seemed the universe was plotting against me.
I would watch from my classroom with dismay as the girls in Stream F gathered under the tree laughing and talking. I remember wanting so much to be with them.
Being placed in C struck at something deep within me – a general feeling of always being alone.
I wanted to be a part of the crowd but life just always had a way of separating me.
So, I found myself wandering during my free time and wondering what to do. There was lots of time to be in silence, to think or write stories.
Eventually I paired up with one of the other girls and we would walk over to the lower school to get away.
There I got a chance to learn about her. She was new to the school and had recently returned to Jamaica. She shared stories of getting in trouble for fighting at her school in America and being sent to Jamaica because she and her mother could not get along.
I mostly listened and offered encouragement when I could.
Now when I look back I find it uncanny that during that moment of separation, I was placed in a place to sit and hear someone’s story.
It feels eerily similar to the way I now sit to hear the story of each guest during my interviews for the radio programme.
I was in training but I didn’t know it at the time.
I remember always asking God why these things would happen to me.
“Why do I always feel alone?”
He didn’t answer right away but I recall one day while walking home from school hearing a still small voice say to me, “You feel alone because a day will come when you will have to stand alone and you will need to know what that feels like and be comfortable in it.”
To date I have not forgotten it.
You may have your own questions that you ask as well. “Lord, why did this happen?” or “Lord why is this happening to me…?”
God will use different situations and circumstances in our lives to train us and ultimately prepare us for what He has in store.
There are things that you may have lamented over in the past or even things that you are fussing about right now that you do not even know is God’s way of preparing you.
Everything forms part of your training. He uses different situations and circumstances to stretch, prune and develop you.
Just continue to go through your process, clarity will come in time.
[About the Author: Sandie Heron is a Radio Presenter/Producer on Roots 96.1FM, a community radio station founded by the Mustard Seed Communities. The programme which airs every Friday at 12:45pm tells the stories of citizens in Kingston and other communities in Jamaica and overseas who remain positive and who beat the odds despite desperate circumstances.]