Friday, February 20, 2009

Patricia goes speechless...

One of the most eye-opening or demoralizing experiences I had in graduate school was doing poorly on the introductory course for the area in which I wanted to do research which was being taught by the professor I had hoped to study under. Not that I expected to be exceptional, but that I truly believed this was one of the areas in which I felt I was strong.

The real world is different from school. We do not get official grades by people we respect. Actually, most times any feedback we get about how we are doing comes from those who disapprove of our performance. While we exchange kind words with our friends, family and acquaintances, we rarely really give each other feedback that will help us improve on the important areas of life. I say important because we do exchange plenty of endless meaningless chatter about how we do on the wardrobe, hair, make-up, etc.

After school, there are few "checkpoints" in life that can give you a good, clear, objective measure of how you are doing. Some of them: making the proverbial 7-years of marriage mark, having children, children's graduations, work-related items such as promotions and evaluations, knitting the one scarf or blanket, etc.
But how do we know that we are doing good in the deeper areas? How do we know if we are being good friends? How do we know if we are making an impact? For those of us who are Christians... How do we know that we are living properly? How do we know we are sharing God with others? How do we know we are trusting God enough? How do we know?

The truth is that we do not know. The truth is that this is one of the reasons we trust God. The truth is that this is one of the reasons why only trust in the One True God can save us and grant us access to Heaven. How else would we know how good is good enough?

THAT SAID, along the way, if you pay attention, and specially if you trust God, you encounter points in your life that give you pause and shake you awake to realize where you are missing the mark.

I am generally bad at having serious conversations with people. Serious conversations make me uncomfortable, most of the time I think it is best to spare others of the details of your thoughts, I often feel like they are a waste of time and then they expose vulnerabilities that are best kept private. Secretly (or not so secretly like on this blog), I enjoy serious subjects. I am intrigued by the workings of the human mind. I am amazed by the way people think and make connections and simply floored by the way even "random" situations bring people together. Recently a dear friend of mine brought this up: "When the student is ready, the teachers will appear". It is so true, but how/why/when?

The friends I have known longest and I have known each other for about 16 years. It is a group of 3 girls plus me. You could not find more different backgrounds, beliefs, personalities and aspirations in any group of 3 random people.

To make a long story short, I can probably count the number of times I have had serious conversations with each of them. We have also, basically, lost touch over the last 10 years. Until recently, I only communicated with one of them on a semi-weekly basis, but more by her effort than any effor of my own (I am ashamed of this).

Recently, I was very frustrated at a situation in my life, and a different one of these girls picked up on it. A very serious conversation ensued. It was more a vent of frustration than anything else. I didn't think much of it. However, over the months following this conversation, we have been speaking more often. I attributed it to ME simply being around more often and this strange solemn frame of mind I can't seem to shake off.

On Tuesday night in the midst of a cough medicine stupor, the realization that I really have not paid much attention to her life in the last 10 years and extreme frustration at the stupid serious mood I cannot shake off, I asked her some tough questions. Yeah, ashamed of that too.

What is the moment that has left the deepest mark in your life?
An afternoon when a good friend of mine started talking to me like she never has before and trusted me with a private conversation. I felt like the best friend in the world and I cannot stop thinking about that day.

I have had the hardest time trying to come up with ANYTHING much to say about anything since then. I wonder if bathing in garlic will shake-off a serious mood?

Checkpoint: I am a clueless SCHMUCK!

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