I watch the Bachelorette. And the Bachelor. It’s like candy for my brain and while I’m sure it rots my synapses like cavities in tooth enamel, I can’t quit. It’s a little like a train wreck that I can’t look away from, drawn in while holding my hands over my eyes because it’s just. so. bad.
Years ago one scene aired that I’ll never forget. It was during the “Men Tell All” episode, where all participants from the season gather in a studio to rat out each other in front of the girl who dumped each of them. This season had been particularly controversial, and the Bachelorette had been raked over the coals for many of her choices. During this tell-all episode, the host read a few tweets and emails that had been sent to the Bachelorette. They were full of awful, horrible words, sent from real people to a real person.
After reading them, the Bachelorette was quiet before choking out a few words about how hard those were to hear.
Then the beauty entered.
Someone in the audience shouted, “We still love you!” The entire audience and all the men she’d dated stood up, giving her a standing ovation. She looked around in shock and smiled through her tears, and I thought of you, the woman who should get a standing ovation.
I thought of you, moms of little kids, wiping spills and heinies and after dinner messes. Sweeping floors only to step in a pile of cracker crumbs an hour later. Folding the last of the laundry only to start over in the morning. All service, all unsung. You, who for a short or long season are solo parenting and simply do not get a break, ever. It all comes down to you, from sun up to sun down, and all the hours in between. You go and go and go, rarely get time off, your kids pitch fits (only to be perfect for other caretakers), and you get their leftovers at the end of the day. You, who are home with your brood all day every day, making fun happen even on rainy mornings. Chasing tinies and schooling bigs. Giving and giving of all you have for all your heart.
I thought of you who work in an office cubicle all day. Who teaches. Who engineers or builds or serves or paints or writes or doctors. You, who works retail and restaurant and driving and any job that leads you to feel even a little taken for granted. You serve and clean and organize and sweat and often get treated as less than. You, who then goes home to the chaos of dinner, cleaning up, laundry, maybe baths and homework, all before landing in an exhausted pile on the couch before bed. All day everyday, then cramming your weekends full of adventure and projects and errands.
I thought of you, who — for whatever reason — has dreams on hold, and no one has thanked you for making such a quiet and difficult sacrifice.
I thought of you, dating and hopeful. Single and happy. Married for decades. Widowed. Single mom. Overlooked employee. Under-served in your church. Quietly and consistently serving, and blooming right where you’ve been planted.
I thought of each of you that night during the Bachelorette, of all things. I teared up thinking about you and so many more women, because as the Bachelorette looked around at people who were truly seeing her sadness and cheering her on, I wanted to do the same for you. I wanted to give you a standing ovation. For all the hurts gone silent but making noise in your heart. For all the service bestowed on ungrateful hearts.
For all the times you’ve been and felt unseen, you deserve a big, resounding, awkwardly long, standing ovation. You deserve to be celebrated, thanked, heard.
Good thing there is One who sees, hears, and celebrates. One who delights in you. One who rejoices over you with singing.
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)
Bravo, friends. Cheers and confetti and clapping in those small, overlooked moments, all and just for you. A standing ovation from One is yours.