Common misconceptions: you have an idea about something, about someone, and this idea becomes fact in your mind. Suddenly, you are making decisions based on this idea. The truth is, most of the time you have this concept so well-formed that you believe with every ounce of your being that nothing and no one can shake you from that particular thought. What I’ve discovered lately is that this in itself is a common misconception.
One of my favourite quotes by Socrates is the following:
“As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.” -Socrates
This is part of a larger quote in which he discussed justice and how it relates to people, but I really only concentrate on this particular piece of the quote. I think we will all get to a point in our lives when this quote will become true. We are born not knowing, then we learn, and get to a point where we think we know everything, when we think we even know ourselves 100% but this is a fallacy. A few days ago, I had a conversation which completely changed my life, and my outlook on many things. I don’t know if any of you have had this sort of conversation with someone, if you have delved into the depths of your own thoughts and souls, picked everything apart and realized what some of your true walls were. Has anyone ever made you realise what your wall was made out of? Not just the fact that you had a wall but what it was made out of and what was on the other side of it? If you haven’t had that blessing, I can only desire that you one day encounter a friend who you can deconstruct things with and place them back together in a way that makes you realise how things were supposed to be. This person changed one of my strongest common misconceptions. This misconception is the fact that only I know what questions to ask myself and what conclusions to draw from them. I am incredibly introverted, self-aware, and an analytical observer who lives life observing everything and drawing conclusions and philosophies from every experience. That’s not a bad thing, but what is a bad thing is when I’ve closed myself to the idea that someone else could possibly understand this thought process. It isn’t that we thought so differently which affected me, but indeed it is the fact that we thought so similarly that made me realize the error of many of my thought patterns. It was in this clashing of mental titans that I was able to see things for what they really were. This friend asked me the following: “What have you been asking God for, for these last few years? Have you been asking him for patience, for wisdom? Because you will see that much of what is going on in your life has to do with what you asked for.”
Immediately I knew that it was for courage, to not have fear, and in answering this I discovered the root of everything that had been going on in my life for the last few months. But I also discovered the following: I was not alone in the world. There are other deep thinkers, ‘over-analyzers’, people who observe from the background, those who feel over-exposure, and seek companionship yet fear being eternally misunderstood in such companionship. I saw in that moment that this was a person who I had observed from afar without knowing that in that instant his words would impact my life so greatly. That’s how life works sometimes. Thanks to this new friend I was able to change my perspective about a situation which had really affected me deeply, but not only that, I was able to feel peace about it. I realised that it wasn’t only my own thoughts and inner workings that could come up with a solution, but rather that there are those that God may place around you to also give you insight. “It’s too soon to look back” he said, and I gathered that in the turmoil of my experience, and my lack of understanding everything that has been going on, he was indeed correct. It was too soon to look back and from there draw a conclusion about how I felt, and the decisions I wanted to make based on those feelings.
That night we shared our thoughts on God, on relationships, on the taboo topics within the church, on the many stories that seemed as if they had been copied from each others journals, of all the many heartaches and breaks we had experienced from being givers and not knowing when to stop giving. It caused me joy in that moment to know that just as I had often made the mistake of being selfless with those who were selfish, he also had made those same mistakes. Yet within all of the things that could make him jaded, he still knew how to be a friend, and I hope in my heart that so do I. Brilliant as he may be, this person reveals that he’d like to erase his traces from social media, that slowly he wants to detach himself from a world that is doing more harm than good at times. I understand him completely, as I too have this fear of being exposed, of having people judge me by my “posts” or my “likes” rather than by who I really am. But at the same time, I wish the world could hear what he talks about, I wish more people thought the way that he did, and that more people were able to be a friend like he was in that moment to me. It’s sad that it’s always the most brilliant of souls who go unnoticed, and who are afraid of recognition. When so many who have much less to offer are given enormous platforms. Indeed, it is the irony of life. That we should be rare, tailor-made, a dying breed that prefers to communicate through handwritten letters, and yet we are also in hiding, so that no one ever truly finds us.
I learned in that moment that my common misconceptions about not trusting others were not correct when they came to certain people, and I’m glad that I was able to talk to him to prove that. Every once in a while there are comets that flash through our skies at the speed of light; we talk about them, we make a fuss about them, and then they’re gone… until the next 100 years or so. We tell our generation to make sure we see it pass, to make sure we look at it, because this will be our last chance to ever see the comet again. Maybe this is what true friendship is like, not acquaintanceship but friendship. Maybe moments like these when you realise that someone could make such an impact, those moments, they go away quickly, but they last forever in our hearts. Even until our last days, we remember those conversations, we remember those friends, they are ours forever.