Over the weekend I had an experience that interrupted my peace... brought up a rush of familiar angst. As I talked to my wife about it, my mind wandered to high school and an experience that may be meaningful.
The experience itself doesn't really have a story to it, it's more of a snapshot. I'm lying on my back in a field watching the stars with three guys from school that I really admire. Two of them are the co-captains of the soccer team, two are on the school's competitive academic team with me, one is a leader in band with me, and one is my best friend. All three are way smart, good looking, self confident, and all around nice guys. In short, I find them to be oddly appealing and incomprehensible. I want to be like them. I want... them.
And how does one have another person?
I think the healthy way to dispatch such feelings is to become good friends with people I admire. To come to know them well enough that they are at once a real person with real faults, someone who affirms my own humanity and value, and someone who is worth knowing even when I see they aren't as perfect as I thought.
That didn't happen for me in high school. Well, not enough, anyway. As we chatted under the stars about friends from school, astronomy (yeah, we were geeky like that), and everything else, I felt great. There was acceptance and an intangible affirmation for me. But ultimately, after the campout was all over I felt like an outsider. These guys had known each other longer than me. I felt like they had a friendship with each other that was more genuine than my own. I was the last invited on the campout. I hadn't been invited to others at all, but that was probably because I lived further away and was a relative new-comer. I was a guest.
I don't want to be a guest. I want to have them for myself. How can I satisfy that hunger? How can I be home?