I can’t believe I’m actually going to wax philosophical about a line from Grey’s Anatomy, but here it goes.
What is every elementary-going, recess-loving kid’s worst nightmare? I’ll tell you: being picked last. We’ve all experienced it. Gym teacher makes everyone line up, chooses two team captains and unwittingly gives them the power to establish the social rank and order for the class for the rest of the year in the matter of a minute. Athletic greats, best friends and teen royalty are always picked first. Then comes the kids who are cool by association, others who maybe show some promise in the skills needed to dodge a ball. And so on down the line. And then you come to the last kid. He’s been standing there the whole time, maybe shifting his weight from left foot to right foot, no doubt adjusting his glasses, just hoping that someone will pick him. That someone will choose him and want him to be on their team. Which is in fact the same emotion that every kid in the class had been feeling all along. They just want someone to pick them. They don't want to be last. They don't want to be all alone. But it’s that last little kid who feels it the most acutely.
Let’s step inside the classroom. The teacher asks the class a question. After an uncomfortable pause, timid hands are raised in the air while the teacher surveys the scene. But there’s always that one kid. The one practically dancing out of his chair, waving his hand in the air like he just don’t care. He just wants the teacher to pick him. He wants the teacher to choose him, acknowledge that he has the right answer, validate all his hard work and studying. I’m sure we all remember that kid. Maybe we were that kid. We just wanted the teacher to call on us, make us feel special.
Fast forward a couple of years and consider the stereotypical youth dance. Boys and girls awkwardly moving to the music. The courageous few that are daring enough to actually act like they are having fun. And then a slow song comes on. Pick any 90’s power ballad or one-hit-wonder love song. You know the one. And you know exactly what happens next. A few brave souls will immediately find the guy or girl of their choice and ask for this dance. For others, it might take a couple of heart-pounding seconds in order to find a suitable partner and ask the question. The majority of the dancers, though, just stand there, eyes staring all over the room. Staring at the floor. Staring at the ceiling. Staring at the back of their hands. Staring at the refreshment table. No matter where they stare, the thoughts are the same: Someone, please, don’t leave me standing here, looking like a complete moron. Someone, please, pick me. Someone, please, choose me. They just want someone to care enough to recognize their existence for the next three and a half minutes. They just need to know that they are not completely invisible.
This same pattern continues as we get older. The situations are all different, circumstances change, but in the end, we all just want someone to pick us, choose us. We want to be recognized for our hard work, for our accomplishments, for our positive contributions. We want to feel special. We want to feel that others see our good qualities. We need reassurance, every now and then, that we are making a difference; that what we do and who we are actually matters to someone in this world.
And as we get even older, a new and greater dimension is added to the equation: we want to be loved. More than just a familial, best-friends-forever love. We want real love. Romantic love. True love. We want someone to pick us, to choose us, to love us. Out of all the possibilities to choose from, we want one person to pick just us. We want one person to choose to love us above everyone else. We want to be recognized and acknowledged. We want to feel special. We want to feel loved.
Likewise, we want to pick one person, choose just one person to love above everyone else. We want to recognize and acknowledge the good in another person. We want to make that person feel special. We want to make them feel loved.
"Pick me. Choose me. Love me."
Can you see, then, how painfully honest this statement is? With no fear, no hesitation, we ask that someone pick us, choose us, love us. No shame. No ulterior motive. Risking everything on the chance that the person will say "Yes. I pick you. I choose you. I love you." I really can't think of any clearer way to explain the desire we all have to feel wanted and loved in this world.
So it doesn’t matter if we are the clumsy kid in gym class or the single young adult trying to figure out what it all means – we are all saying the same thing:
“Pick me. Choose me. Love me.”