If I Could Be Like That…

12 04 2007

…so goes the chorus from the song by 3 Doors Down, asking if life in another’s shoes would be better than it is in one’s own.

Is it really better? On a fundamental level, I know it isn’t, but there are days when that’s just too-hard to believe. Like yesterday.

Yesterday was the annual employees outing, which we spent at a country club – we were each given 200 bucks worth of credit to spend on the numerous amenities: swimming, various racket sports, basketball, a spa, etc. I spent most of the day swimming (and have sore shoulders and stinging sunburn to show for it) – one, because I really like swimming; two – because it can be done alone (I run for the same reasons).

I remember sitting under the hot shower after some 4+ hours of swimming back and forth across the pool, but feeling utterly, inconsolably, inexorably alone; a loneliness that thoughts of a loving family back home could not neutralize – indeed, a loneliness that made the thought of a loving, caring God seem…well…weak.

It’s the sort of loneliness that feels like the antithesis of any from of giftedness one might have; Play several instruments? Ace math quizzes? Command the respect and admiration of the entire batch of high school juniors (hahahaha)? In moments like those, I wonder if I would be willing to give all of those up just to know, beyond the shadow of a doubt,  that another human being (preferably within speaking distance) loves me despite myself.

And the “despite myself” is a big clause; I may be an interesting conversationalist (hahahaha), but I can be a social embarrassment, not knowing how to behave around other people. When you hitch a ride with a friend, and you’re the only person in the car who doesn’t know everyone else (and vice versa), what do you do? You may know what to do, but I don’t.

When you go with a friend to their church and are introduced to his/her friends, do you engage in  meaningful conversation or stop after exchanging pleasantries? When they ask a probing question (So, uh…how are you feeling?), do I tell them the oft-bitter truth or do I tell a socially-acceptable lie (Oh, I’m good, I’m good. And you?)?

Sometimes, I watch the students at school, especially those who have really close friends, and I wonder what it might be like for me to have friends like those – friends whom you can ask out to a night of coffee and conversation and not fear being told, “Oh, man – sorry…I got plans with my homies for tonight. Some other time.” – because frankly, I never had friends like that.

I was always too different…and I guess I still am.




One response

21 04 2007

Command the respect and admiration of the entire batch of high school juniors (hahahaha)? *smile*

sir we, the juniors, LOVE YOU!!!! You rock big time!!! let me tell you, you have been part of every juniors life and we treasure memories with you, at least i would!! you rock!!! and sir you are a great person to talk to!!! and again YOU ROCK!!!!!

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