Sunday, November 13, 2011

In Tribute

You know, way back when it was time for Freshman year of college, I was distressed with the whole prospect of making friends again. I mean, the thrill of meeting new people is something I've come to truly love, and most of the people who've come into my life have been tremendous blessings. Even the acquaintances, if I simply reflect on what I know of their character, their personality, it's easy for me to be wowed. What can I say? I'm a softie.

That said, we return to the daunting task of the actual friendmaking. That discomfort, wondering when it's okay to unleash that particular brand of weird. It escapes and has escaped on its own, make no mistake, but there's that obstacle of the conscious articulation or imparting of it..."When can I be comfortable?" Sometimes the caution is prudent, sometimes I just gotta get over it and make the move and bring people in. I'm working on trusting the Spirit on that one.

Anyway, I was dreading it. I met some terrific people throughout my college experience, but that freshman year was a terrifying one, and I realized that I was living a very different life from...just about everybody in that University. Those who heard me talk about CUA after my freshman year probably thought I was going to transfer. I was pretty bitter, and overjoyed to jump back into that group of folks from high school who will always have a special place in my heart. And while there was some drama that summer, and growing pains were not the most fun thing, a truckload and more of good memories came from that summer, not to mention sleep deprivation and far more laughter than I can ever recall happening in my life since.

My senior year, I remember confiding to somebody that I was kind of sad that entertainment in this last year together had become focused on alcohol (legality made it the thing to do), not to mention that the sheer insanity that was summer (or even high school) escapades towered over the experiences I had in high school. I don't say this to belittle anybody in college, because I've met some of the most solid folks ever through that experience, and I always could have been more vocal (without belligerence) when challenged about my reluctance to go to bars. In any case, this friend was straight up blunt with me: I was whiney and living in the past. I'm sure it wasn't the most pastoral move, but it was a fair anecdotes revolved around my high school friends, my nostalgic waxing was for the Oregonian landscape and comfortable times with friends, and...well, you get the picture. Somebody without the context would be hard-pressed to be nearly as enthusiastic and certainly to relate to my story.

I guess she was right to some extent, but at the same time, Peru showed me that I had had a truly privileged upbringing. I mean, duh, materially: I graduated from college, went to a private high school, lived very comfortably, etc. But my richness was even more apparent in the quality of my friends, and I had no idea until I had heard how many people had suffered at the hands of friends who weren't nearly as loyal, not nearly as sympathetic or empathetic, supportive, etc. It was a shocking revelation, and it continues to amaze me in the vast majority of conversations where high school friends come up: "Wow, you still are in contact with your high school friends? That's...awesome!" "Dang, I don't have a single friend like that! You have about 20."

If you were to ask me HOW I managed to be graced with such amazing friends, I'd have to tell you that it was pretty much all their doing. I've been a pretty superficial friend in a lot of ways, definitely petty, and there's very little that I have done since good friendship was established 7+ years ago to merit such amazing friends. That's just further testimony to how great they are.

I said that I met some of the most solid folks in college. Well, only some of them. My high school friends are my first love (I can see certain people raising an eyebrow to jokes, please). This past weekend, I got to see the solidest of the solid get married. If that weren't amazing enough (and watching him be all manner of crazy excited, scared stiff, and launching beams of happiness to bound all over the great hall), there was a reunion of folks from high school. It was...kinda unreal. I hadn't seen a good number of folks in over 2 years. To dance with them was a joy I'd forgotten I'd missed so dearly until the music started, and once it did, I was sad to see the end of it. And even if I didn't get much sleep and even if I've got some papers due, I feel far more renewed than I ever would have expected going into that weekend.

The next month will be crazy, and life isn't gonna be like the first summer back from college. My friend was right: I can't live in the past. However, if you think for a second that I'm going to forget or downplay how absolutely fantastic it is to be with folks who, even after this time, can still pick up where we left off, you'd be dead wrong. I mentioned this a couple of posts ago: I so markedly don't deserve this caliber of friends, but I hope to be a little more worthy. Part of that is clearly being a better friend, and a part comes from loyalty. Loyalty, that is, to who I am, the facet that I'd not quite forgotten but definitely hadn't let loose until I was in the presence of everybody. So, here goes on both fronts.

As an afterthought, I'd simply add: I'd be a Musical Theater major in another life. I also love academia. Working to find a better way of satisfying both sides. Love to all.

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