So when I talked to my wife about travelling 5,503 miles to meet up with 90+ Facebook friends, she pointed this out. This isn't an easy process for me. It's made me uncom-fortable at times, but it's also been fun and terribly rewarding. It's provided me numerous opportunities to come out of my shell, at least for 20-second intervals, if not a bit longer.
When I was in the 4th grade, I bought a ring for a girl. It was from the only drugstore in town. It was probably hideous and cheaper than $5, my weekly allowance. I spent the good part of a week trying to come up with a way to pass it from my desk in Mrs. S's class to the girl's desk. "Psssst. Hey, will you pass this ring to Bart and tell him to pass it to Lisa and have her pass it to Maggie?" In the end, I never gave it to her. I was probably scared, nervous, shy, and/or an 8-year-old.
Today, I met up with that girl, K, now a woman with a patient husband, two kids, and a dog. Unfortunately, I forgot to tell her the ring story. Hopefully, she reads this and smiles, knowing that a boy had a crush on her back in 1987.
As I reflect upon our time together this morning, I'm so happy that I came on this trip. I'm happy that this trip is helping me become more social, less scared, less shy, and less of an 8-year-old. And I'm happy that K might read this and smile, knowing that a man counted her as his friend in 2014.
Meeting R was awesomecrazy. Am I the only one doing this? If so, WHY AREN'T MORE PEOPLE DOING IT? It's a rush and weird and cool and stupid and intense all mixed into 31 flavors.
R and I don't have much in common. He's a hardcore gamer while I like Mario. He understands economics while I (waaaiiit for it) don't. But get this. I was willing to drive to Baskin Robbins to see what was up with a guy that was willing to drive to Baskin Robbins to see what was up with a guy. So was he. How great is that?
B was sort of my friend in high school, maybe. He was a sophomore when I was a senior. We didn't hang out, but I knew him a bit from basketball, had a class with his girlfriend, and we shared the same religious upbringing. This girlfriend, K, did not share our religious beliefs. When I befriended B on Facebook a couple weeks ago, I saw that he was now married to K and that they had two children. In my high school religion, boys of my faith simply did not marry girls that weren't of my faith. For them to have eventually married, something had to have given, and I was excited to learn what it was.
Something did give, though I think the details belong to B and K, not to me, and not for me to share. They are happy now and I am extremely happy for them. They were nothing but kind to me in high school and I love that they worked it out.
Their story is a romantic one, but from my selfish viewpoint, the romance was secondary. Of primary concern to me was that B had walked a very similar path to mine. Over time, I have met many people who were raised in the faith in which I was raised that eventually left that faith. Yet, I had never met somebody whose specific story matched mine almost perfectly. For a moment, I wished that I knew B better in high school so that perhaps my journey would've been easier, less scary, and less lonely. That moment quickly passed though and was replaced with the realization that it really didn't matter that I was unaware of his struggles and that he was unaware of mine.
Seventeen years ago, we were going through the same things, felt the same feelings, and struggled the same struggle. Today, that gives me comfort. I'm not alone now. And as it turns out, I never was.
Am I a bad friend for not remembering to miss him on a regular basis? It's possible, but he's also said on many occasions that he is a bad friend too. So maybe it's alright and maybe it works for us. I'll consider it further as I continue on my journey, or I'll forget about it by the time I hit the freeway and continue my bad friend ways. I'm not sure.
Here's what I can say with certainty though. I always love the time that we had and have. Last night was stellar. And I look forward to doing it again. I feel fortunate to be, and to have you as, a bad friend.