We’ve all heard it, but have we learned it?
The first time I heard it was when my professors (in a college course I was taking as a freshman in high school) started a lecture with it. I got the point he was trying to make but I would not learn the lesson just yet. To be honest, I still myself learning this lesson.
We all make friends, some that are good for us others that are bad for us. Some that are both. The world likes to tell us that friends are good people who would never hurt us. The truth is friends have, friends do, and friends will hurt you. You make the choice from that point on to work through it or graciously decline furthering that relationship.
When I was in high school all I ever wanted were friends. They were especially important when you consider the environment in which I was growing up. I attended an all girls Catholic school. This is not a bad thing, but a sort of category to which comes consequences. We all wore uniforms, we had very similar schedules, we had a small sampling of clubs, and the same day to day routine. Friends, were one of the few forms of expression. This is why perhaps at institutions such as this cliques are so prominent. Such groupings are one of the few means of expression.
A school can censor your artwork, your writing, your acting, and your demeanor. You can rebel but of course you will suffer consequences. In high school you have parents to consider, who will in small ways dictate how your life is to be, who you are to see, where you are to go. With so much working against you, it is a miracle you can sometimes escape it all and for the 6 hours you are in school form small, structured friendships. It is hard to even say if those “acquaintances” are truly friends, if your schedules were to change would they still find time to see you? There are so many factors that go into the process of acquiring friends, but if it were not worth it people would not do it. So we make friends.
I will be honest and say I did make some friends that were not the best influence on me. Luckily I took that as a lesson and learned to involve myself with them less. And it was in doing so I realized they were not my true friends. They did not care if I did not call them, they only cared when they needed something.
So what can be learned from this? A lot. I went to college with the mentality that if anyone used me to the point they hurt me they were gone. And trust me, I had to put this lesson to practice plenty of times. While it was hard to see that some people have to leave your life I took comfort in the promise of something better. They say God never takes something from you without the intention of replacing it, often with something better. I was lucky enough to see this. The people who came into my life in college helped me bloom into a much better person. They saw my potential and they worked to help me reach it.
I remember that moment, just after my parents walked out of my dorm and I was all alone in the room. My two roommates were not staying for the night, I spent my first day and night in college truly alone. There I was with all my college goodies, I had spent months in the summer compiling. I had thought of everything I needed for my new home. And then it hit me. I was alone in one of the biggest cities in the world. Suddenly my blue pillows and pictures scattered on the walls were not enough.
How would I ever survive? Where would I start? I never took this AP test.
I just jumped. I made a list of things I wanted to do and I started doing it. I went Greek, I became a journalist. I made two choices that would shape my entire life. From those two choices, I crossed paths with an array of people who would not change me, but would help me find myself.
You are who you run with. And I just want you to ask yourself are they running the block or the marathon in your life?
Life’s about choices. Choose wisely.