Talking to you yesterday for the first time at our school retreat was beautiful. I don’t know if you felt it the same way – that magic, that connection – but our conversation was something special.
We were only 20 minutes away from SCU but it felt like a different world. It was a different world. Such a contrast from the suburban campus. The gravel rocks at our feet, the sound of cows mooing every 30 seconds, birds singing, chickens scurrying about on the wood chips, some pecking at food, others digging holes.
Watching the pigs and lambs sleeping completely passed out against the side of the barn, and different shades of green represented with the diverse trees and shrubs in this hidden encampment: forest, avocado, tea, and olive. Us so intertwined with nature.
There we were, just us two, walking in conversation. We shared our stories, where we came from, what we were studying, what we did in our free time. (You said you like reading but not during the school year because it’s too hectic. You also couldn’t stop talking about your passion for tennis.)
At first, it was “small talk,” those standard questions that you ask any peer you meet for the first time in college. But the way you and I answered them, it didn’t feel like simply chitchat. The conversation flowed easy and fast. Then, you talked about growing up in Washington and your pet dogs (two Golden Retrievers, right?).
And I shared about my very social cat and my favorite ski mountains. When we got back to the cabin and ate dinner with the rest of the group, we continued to bond, gushing over our favorite restaurants and foods. And traveling abroad. And more.
That night, I couldn’t fall asleep for the longest time. My mind was awake, and as I twisted and turned in bed, I realized two things. 1) I enjoyed talking to you and 2) I was afraid of engaging further in “whatever” interaction with you.
You see, I have a habit of losing people, and I don’t want you to be one of them. Although I am good at establishing connections, I am not the best at maintaining them.
I love meeting new people and I’m really good at it. One of my best qualities is that I’m a good listener. I like to ask questions and uncover who a person really is, what they value and what their soul feels and wants. But I like to do this with every person I meet.
There’s a quote by Shauna Niequist from her book, Present Over Perfect, that encompasses me perfectly: “Making someone feel loved in an instant is so much easier than showing someone you love over and over, day in and day out.”
Anyone who really knows me is aware that I am all over the place. Literally, figuratively, and emotionally. Because my interests are very widespread, I have met many people over the past two years in college, and I jump from group to group, place to place, and club to club like second nature.
My heart is all over the place and this has affected my relationships with other people. It would be amazing if we could have deep, emotional connections with every single person we meet, but realistically, I don’t think it is possible.
To enter into an emotional relationship with someone is something special and finite. (But that’s what makes it genuine and authentic. Although we may love a finite amount of people, our love for them is infinite.)
It’s so easy to make someone feel good and to show your love to a person instantaneously. The greater challenge, at least from my experience, is sustaining that love so that it doesn’t go away.
Yes, you could be that stranger who becomes one of my best friends.
But you could also be that person who I have a few awesome experiences with and then grow more distant from in time given our busy and different schedules.
I know I’m jumping to conclusions but I’ve been hurt in the past.
So, today upon seeing you, I tensed up. I avoided you like a flame because I’m afraid of getting burned.
I’m afraid of getting vulnerable with you. I’m afraid of becoming emotionally attached. I’m afraid of letting you into my heart. I’m scared that we’ll get close and then you’ll leave.
But I don't want this to be the end, and in my heart, I know that this is only the beginning of our journey and relationship together, especially given the circumstances in which we know each other.
So, am I willing to take that risk of becoming closer to you for the beautiful relationship that could arise? Are you?