I believe no one should have to sit alone at lunch. It is the time of day during school when everyone has the chance to laugh at silly jokes and talk about their day. It is a common joke that lunch is everyone’s favorite class of the day. However, having to sit alone in a sphere of isolation surrounded by hundreds of other students would constitute lunch as being the absolute worst class for anyone. The feelings of pity and self-consciousness for someone in that situation can be quite demoralizing.
I can definitely attest to a lunch like this. I remember one day in elementary school. There were five of us who wanted to sit together and only one four-seated booth. I, sadly, was the last to get my lunch, so I had to eat my food all alone at a table adjacent to my friends. Watching them laugh and have a good time while I was sitting by myself became too much. I eventually broke down crying and a teacher had to come sit with me to calm me down. Now, I am pretty sure I overreacted just a little bit that day, but my tears just represent what everyone feels when they are isolated at lunch or even in life.
I had another lonely lunch situation in high school. There was not enough room for me at my usual table, so I had to sit with another group of students to whom I have never talked in my life. Now, I am not saying I heard some wonderful philosophical views that day, but I did hear quite new perspectives on life. It was definitely one of my more interesting lunchtime experiences.
The point is, at least I sat with someone that day. I did not have to suffer through lunch eating my cold turkey sandwich all alone. No one felt pity for me, and I was not self-conscious of having no friends and being a complete social outcast.
This lunch table is an analogy for life. Whether you are a third grader or a teenager, no one wants to go through life on his own. Whether it is at lunch, class, or work, we all want to be included. We all need that circle of friendship and belonging in our lives: that lunch table filled with compassion and understanding.
Everyone knows that person who is always sitting alone. We pass him by, feeling sorry for him but not doing anything about it, acting as though we do not notice. So the next time you see him quietly sitting alone, picking away at his half-eaten mashed potatoes, invite him to sit with you. You could hear some interesting stories, and you could even possibly find a new great friend. You will feel a sense of pride and expand your circle of friends while relieving another of loneliness and pity. No one should have to sit alone; this I believe.
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