When one experiences life as a lonely adolescent, one never considers the possibility that her peers are hurting as well. To her, they look content and confident; loved and admired.
In high school, most of my classmates seemed pretty level-headed and likable. My strong emotions and insecurities were a handicap – I thought – suffered by a mere 0.001% of the population.
Oh but the illusion of others’ sanity only lasts as long as one is able to maintain a safe emotional distance from her peers – never asking, never sharing, the perfect recipe for misperception. This illusion is further pronounced when your high school is in the heart of one of the most affluent counties in the U.S. Ironically, Douglas County has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation.
As I slowly began to open up to people, they opened up to me – and the illusion began to crumble. It was replaced with the raw truth: I am no crazier than anyone else.
I’m not lying when I say this was astounding to me. The more I’ve come to accept this truth, the more it terrifies me. It comforts, but it also terrifies. If I’m not the craziest, that means I live in a world of people more crazy than I can imagine. A world of crazies means a world of hurt, and sometimes I want nothing more than to avoid the hurt and shield myself from relationships.
Surprisingly, God does not discourage relationships among humans. On the contrary, He encourages relationships. Why else would His foremost commandments be to love God and love others?
It seems that I have no choice but to open myself up to the hurt, the bickering, the imperfection. God has a plan and a purpose for his creation, and we are invited to step into that no matter the difficulty ahead.
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33