If anyone were to ask me the greatest trial of my life, I would immediately reply, my ability to love.
I have always desired a sense of security in my life, a feeling that my actions would one day achieve an end that was worth every bit of effort spent, every chance taken, every tear shed. My greatest fear is that I will be forgotten, and this is reflected in my daily life mostly clearly in my role as editor of the yearbook, the poster activity for those of us who perceive no greater terror than the obliteration of our legacy. Unfortunately, my early attempts to find a person with whom I would have this sense of everlasting security ended only in frustration and regret, as I so often lost track of my priorities and forsook studying for phone calls. It would all work out in the end, I reassured myself, as yet another less-than-desirable test grade found its way onto my desk.
As long as someone loves you, nothing can ever be wrong in the world.
With this mantra I embarked on the voyage of the Good Ship High School, ceaselessly seeking someone who shared my perspective, who understood the deepest, most desperate desire of my heart. By sophomore year, I had given up out of sheer exhaustion, resigning myself to the fact that I would never concurrently have a solid relationship and a solid grade average and still time to sleep.
The reason for this unflagging pursuit? Perhaps it was because I never really felt like I fit in, in this small-town high school of 1500 people that was relentlessly upper middle class Caucasian. My fear of being rejected by the ones I tried to befriend probably led me to pursue only one person at a time, borne on the wave of anxiety that accompanied every attempt at forming a connection.
Andy found me one cold winter day, fresh from what I declared would be my last endeavor and my last heartbreak. He simply jumped into my life and asked nothing from me, told me that there was nothing I had to prove to him, and that he wanted to earn my confidence. There was no chasing on my part, no avoidance on his, as had been the case for every previous venture of mine, and as time sweetly gave us its blessing, I found that I had overcome my fear of rejection. I had sacrificed nothing in the way of slipping grades, and had received in return every bit of security that my promise-starved heart could want.
As the years went by and our relationship steadied itself on firm ground, I found myself ready to stand up in the face of injustice that permeated the lives of myself and those of others saw myself take on bullies and empathize with victims. There was no more time wasted on the phone, and my grades skyrocketed, carried by the fullness of spirit that so happily attends the knowledge that you mean something, everything, to someone.
I never wanted anything but to be loved, but Andy taught me something infinitely greater. You do not need to be loved by everyone, or even a group of people. If you can do something in your lifetime to impact one person, then you have done more than most people can even dream of. Through one person’s understanding, I have found my voice, and have searched since then to inspire another person the same way.
There is no greater feeling than to love and be loved. It is what drives human consciousness and free will, and I am happy to say that what I was looking for wound up finding me in the end.
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