"None of them care if I'm not there."
I've heard this phrase more Sunday mornings and more mutual Tuesdays in my life than I can count. Sometimes it's shouted, laced with anger and punctuated with the slamming of a door. Other times, it's muttered, loud enough to be heard but quiet enough that the pain is obvious.
"No one wants me at church," they say.
"Nobody needs me," they say.
"I'm pretty sure none of them will notice if I don't show up," they say.
They are my brothers, and whether or not there is truth to these statements, they're talking about us, their ward members, their young men leaders, their Sunday school teachers, their brothers, sisters, and priesthood leaders. The people they're supposed to look up to and adore. The men who my parents hoped would take them under their wings and love them. Ward members who can motivate them in ways their family members cannot.
They're talking about us. And it kills me.
The truth is that I've heard this kind of a thing from a lot of young men in my life, some in my family, others outside it. Feeling rejected is, unfortunately, no isolated incident.