Wednesday, July 30, 2014

More About Good Ol' High School

"...and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf."   ... 2 Corinthians 5:15


It's odd.

Yesterday I wrote about At Seventeen and high school, etc., yet I didn't re-mention that I'd attended 3 high schools. Yes, three.

And well, for super-shy me, starting over at each one felt like torture, what with the not knowing anyone (though at the first school, I'd met my youth group kids 2 months earlier, but even so, I spent lots of lunch hours alone in the library.). The not-knowing my way around or the unwritten rules every school has and not having a knack for breaking into years-forged cliques--well, each school presented a sort of nightmare. The first 2 months, especially.

And yet now, all these decades later (and referring back to At Seventeen) I still recall in all 3 schools the many non-pretty/handsome/rich kids who became ultra-popular, respected and loved. Each was friendly toward others, cheerful, with a good, kind sense of humor and open to fun times. 

And though they could have chosen self-absorption and self-pity because of their average looks and homes, they didn't. Nor did they wait to be asked out for a good time--instead-- they created the good times wherever they went. Not in loud, look-at-me ways, but more in the way a foundation holds things together (if that makes sense). 

They gave instead of insisting that others give to them. They drew from wells inside themselves rather than waiting, begging to be watered by everyone else.

And I guess that's partly what bugs me about At Seventeen--it's so darn full of self-pity thinking:

I learned the truth at seventeen
That love was meant for beauty queens...

The valentines I never knew
The Friday night charades of youth
Were spent on one more beautiful...

And those of us with ravaged faces
Lacking in the social graces
Desperately remained at home
Inventing lovers on the phone...

Yes, that's how it was for many, but it was not must-be-truth, but rather, chosen behavior and thinking. And avoidable.

From each of my 3 high schools I recall  'average students' (even ones with 'ravaged faces') who we wanted to hang around because of a warmth radiating from them on the inside, a warmth which grew as they did in learning how to treat the rest of us even more kindly, as well as themselves.

Self-pity paralyzes. It tells us Life cannot become better so we, in turn, don't even try to improve any of it. Self-pity keeps us alone lest we step out and get rejected, it makes certain we remain on our own minds so--without realizing it--we become selfish, not caring, not daring to lift another person up. Self -pity lies but calls those lies, truth. It tells us it's all we have and all we can expect. Forever.

Anyway. As I did say yesterday, God can heal all that. Trust me--I know from personal experience and oh! Being healed by God brings pure freedom and a joy worth having and giving away.


"Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."  ... Matthew 16:24


Certainly the most destructive vice if you like, that a person can have,more than pride, which is supposedly the number one of the cardinal sins - is self pity. Self pity is the worst possible emotion anyone can have. And the most destructive. It is, to slightly paraphrase what Wilde said about hatred, and I think actually hatred's a subset of self pity and not the other way around - ' It destroys everything around it, except itself '. 

..... Stephen Fry


Anonymous said...

As a PK high school was difficult. I am a shy person and struggled to get to know anyone. The high school was huge and I came there from a Jr. high the didn't connect to that school so I didn't know anyone. In my Senior year we moved at Christmas and I started in a new school. That was the pits. However I lived to tell about it and went off to college and had a wonderful time and had an ocean of friends. Leaving home and getting out of the fish bowl helped immensely.
God is good and takes where we are to where He wants us to be.
Jan , Maine

Pam said...

This post sure does bring back memories!! My family made a big move right before I started high school. I was furious with my parents, feeling my life had nearly ended. It was so difficult facing that new world. Looking back, that experience helped prepare me for my journey with God. Once I got my head on straight, I made new friends at church and school and life was good again.

Debra said...

Jan--Yep, sounds like we have similar stories (I was a PK,too.) Except, well, I did not like my one year of college. I was very relieved, in fact, when Tom asked me to marry him the summer after that! :) Glad you enjoyed your time,though and I know what you mean about leaving the fish bowl. :)

Pam--does sound familiar! Except that I didn't mind moving to that first school for my freshman year (I hadn't liked Sacramento which is where we'd lived). I,too, made new friends and came to love my church people so much that--when we moved away the first month of my junior year, I nearly had an emotional break-down. It was scary, actually.

God sent me more people to love during those last two years of school (and a different school for my senior year) and I was grateful and had good times, but it wasn't until my 30's that I came to love God with all my heart, more than people, and became emotionally steady in spirit, soul and body. And nothing has been the same ever since! :)

Thanks for commenting, Ladies! ... Debra