By Jenna Ebener
Think of someone you care about. We likely have many people we care about, but who is someone that really stands out? Who is someone that makes you smile even in a difficult situation? Who is someone that makes you want to be a better person? Who is someone that makes it easy to see Jesus? Who is someone who pulls at your heartstrings? This person can be anyone. It may be a spouse or a family member. It may be a true friend, old or new. It may be someone who is not a part of your inner circle but someone who has made an impact on you. It may be a teacher’s pupil, a mentor, someone who challenges you — or a stranger you crossed paths with or heard about. Maybe it’s one person or a hundred. No matter the details, we all likely have at least one person who touches our hearts in a unique way.
While there are countless people I care deeply about, a few really stand out. I am drawn towards these people like a magnet. For a couple of them, I can clearly see why. They are such incredible people whose joy is so vibrant that I want to be around them and feed off of their energy. I am drawn to others for reasons that may be harder to see.
For example, when I look at the students who have made the biggest impact on me, I cannot always say why. I see the struggles they face on a daily basis, struggles that no child should have to face. I see their stubbornness, which can be equally frustrating and amusing. I see the way they find joy in something as simple as a mirror. These are the students that make an impact on my heart, even while I am devoted to all of my students.
Throughout my four years as a school social worker, I have seen different students make this kind of impact on different people. I am noticing that usually we are drawn towards different students. I have started visualizing God attaching us to different people with an invisible string. This string connects us to those people in a unique way, in a prayerful way. I see it as God’s angels making sure that everyone is accounted for.
These angels see a quality, known only to them, that connects us to someone else on a deeper level. Some of us may be holding on to one string and others on to 10 but each is so important. Each of these strings is connected to a person who is receiving a little bit of extra love and prayer, even if they do not know it.
By attaching us to different people, God ensures that every person has a string attached. For our great shepherd leaves no sheep behind.
Whose string are you holding? Who might be holding yours? How does it feel knowing that someone out there is saying an extra prayer for you? How can you take that feeling and ripple it out to others?
“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart” (Isaiah 40:11).
(Jenna Ebener, who has a Master of Social Work from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, is a social worker at a school in Colorado for students with disabilities.)