Giving Up

I’m disappointed. A friend of mine recently gave up.

He’s in his first real job, he’s going through junior college, he’s been on summer missions a couple times. By all accounts he’s progressing and growing, learning and choosing and standing. But he doesn’t live in reality any longer.

Is it his workmates and their common, liberal bent? He’s gotten along with them pretty well from what I see. He worked with them for a while and then left to do summer missions and then returned and they hired him back on the spot. So he feels important and needed there.

Is it his college classes? It’s only a junior college but one filled with few dreams and many lies. I remember my JC years as ones of constant grating, constant fighting. I guess it helps that I’m a rather passionate guy, and I hold my beliefs tight to me. I believe that the purpose of debate and argument is to present two beliefs and weigh their strengths and weaknesses against each other. The result may be that either one or the other or a combination of the two that is found to be accurate, or even that neither hold up to the truth. This kept me combative and while I made few friends there I held truth close (because of course I was always right), and that was more important because I did not lose myself. I did not understand why I was different, to an extent I did not even know I was different. I just thought the others did not try as hard. The friends I did have were different like me so I never seemed too different from those I knew best. Perspective being what it is, I was saved from the constant chipping that wears down many.

He loves to debate and argue and has an incredibly sharp mind. He can understand things quickly and grasp the root of a matter quickly. His mind is difficult to keep up with and therefore many people find it hard to keep up with what he’s saying. Even his mother says she cannot understand him at all most of the time. I can only imagine he feels like he’s the only one in the world. I can understand him most of the time and can keep up well enough to ask questions and learn those things he’d jumped over. But I don’t particularly enjoy hanging out with him, and I definitely don’t have time to even if I had the desire what with our differing schedules.

I honestly believe that he could be president if he learned how he differs from us and learned to communicate in ways we all can understand. He has charisma and brains, he’s tall too. Give him a few years and he’ll look pretty good. Photogenic, charisma and smarts. What more do we need? Values and backbone.

I can only think that he was constantly faced with the dismissal of his ideas and beliefs by people he respected or at least wanted to get along with. When one has no friends it is easy to make concessions until someone finds enough to like. I can only think that his teachers dismissed his ideas and ideals and his classmates are just mediocre enough that he sees the gap between himself and them and, not seeing either the danger inherent in their position or the reasons for the disparity, tries to close that gap at least a little. Whatever the reason, mediocrity has set in and I hope to God he recovers a little over the holiday season as he has more time at home around strong people and lives.

How did I open this Pandora’s Box? I have turned the key in the lock just as surely as I have ten fingers on our hands. I have opened the door peeking in just to see what it was hidden by that mysterium, hoping to only get a glimpse of the inside, little knowing the inside was the future. I am irrevocably and hopelessly drawn into the secrets of the box. I want to be normal, I want to be able to live my life in the day to day grind of worrying about the next paycheck instead of the state of the world. I wish I could return to before Pandora’s Box, but I cannot. I cannot, and am therefore forever cursed to be different. I see the looks from my classmates and I long to tell them “I’m normal, I’m just like you” but I know that is a lie. When I try to return the truth comes to me and I know I will never be content there living a small life. Dear God I live Your plan.

This may seem like a shamelessly self-aggrandizing rant, but I ask you to read it as if it were you crying out. What is the “different” in your life? Are you a Christian? Should you be different from those around you? Should you not be different? We are all given our own Pandora’s Box. Have you opened yours?

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