I’m back in Washington for a short spell, but BYU ends earlier than anyone else so my friends from high school are still at university, my little sister is still finishing up the home stretch of her freshman year and the parents are working. Needless to say, I’ve gotten a lot of thinking time during the daylight hours since I’ve been here. Sitting in my high school sanctuary and thinking about my college experience just as I’m about to be launched into the next phase has my brain in three million places at once, but I kind of like it.
Last winter semester, I went to see the BYU men’s chorus (which by the way is an absolute delight, if you’re ever in town on a concert weekend). Every time I purchase tickets for a men’s chorus event I forget that with the men’s chorus comes the additional performance of the women’s chorus. So I sat through the first half of the concert staring up at a particular Soprano II standing right smack dab in the middle and considering, like I tend to do, my life.
We were best friends once. I grew up on the street next to hers in Sandy and every day was spent in some fantastic game of imagination. We had slumber parties just about every weekend and practically lived in her Barbie room. I looked back at those years so wistfully once I was nestled away in the woods of Virginia isolated from everything I’d ever known and feeling utterly friendless.
We wrote letters back and forth, visited each other over holidays, even pretended that we could one day go to BYU together. Here we are; the game of pretend suddenly a reality and we barely say hello as we brush past each other on the campus of our dreams.
To add insult to injury, as I sat there waiting to start and skimming through a Ralph Waldo Emerson book I had brought with me to fill the void of a fellow concert-goer, I read; “Our friendships hurry to short and poor conclusions, because we have made them a texture of wine and dreams, instead of the tough fiber of the human heart.” One of the three million places that I am right now, is exploring that spot in my heart where friendships are formed and retained, and I’m wondering why it’s so overgrown and undernourished.
I’ve had a life full of incredible friends and I’m about to spend a summer with a little gaggle of international development interns that will undoubtedly land me with another soul sibling or two, and I don’t want to make those connections and then embrace the subtle drifting that is characteristic of every other non-familial relationship in my life.
I find it amusing that I am willing to be bold in what I do, how I do it, anything to do with strangers—but when it comes to just making a simple phone call to my high school best friend to ask if he wants to go to a movie with me this week, I have to stew around and work up to it like a child. I think about sitting down to talk to that Soprano II every time I see her sitting there in the HFAC, but it remains just a thought. I’m done with just wine and dreams and I going to reach out and grasp tightly to the people that I love already and fight hard for the love of the ones I’ve yet to meet.