In a college psychology course a few years back, the teacher said the following: there are two cliche statements people accept to be true about friendships, but we rarely think about them at the same time. 1) Birds of a feather flock together, and 2) Opposites attract. Those are competing thoughts that most people hold to be true, he said, but both aren't true. Studies show that the first one is almost always the winner. Generalizing, but statistically true: people tend to stick with those who are like them, he argued. Having married since then, I think of ways that Annie and I are similar & different. I wonder what you think about this!
One thing Annie and I want to do more is read together. One reads aloud, the other listens, then we trade. The conversations that happen are often more fun than the book, and this time we're reading The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose. He's a college student at liberal Brown University, English major, but switches paths for a semester at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University. We're only 15 pages in, but we're excited as our own life stories track a bit with Roose's, but in reverse.
Annie grew up in Very Red City in Very Red State but did college in Iowa City, and I grew up in Houston but did college in Boston. I don't think either of us did that for the cultural experience per se, so I guess our inner dog-ears perk up when we hear of people intentionally jumping ships. That's probably part of what attracts me to music. It's fun to see music evolve as people take their indigenous styles to new regions. With the internet, the evolution sped up drastically, and new hybrids are being formed all the time. I mean, there's a whole documentary (I think it's still on Hulu...) dedicated entirely to mash-ups like this:
I can't help but think this is at the heart of what it means to follow Jesus, at least for Annie and me. We're sold that we're forever enriched by being intertwined with people who have different backgrounds and/or perspectives than our own. As Roose points out, one could travel overseas to find such an experience, but, it also seems that we can finding such people living next door. Plus, Annie and I are slowly coming to terms with the fact that WE are "such people", and for all the emotional messiness and embarrassing moments that may come with the territory, we feel blessed. We've had so many moments in the last month or two where we looked at each other and exchanged the facial expression, "I can't imagine our lives without our closest friends!"
I suppose this sort of unexpected friendship gives me hope that real, lasting change on any number of issues - both personal and world - becomes possible. For example, at iCamp we gave money for water filters to people in Rwanda who need and want it. Or I can remember when a close friend offered to tow my broken car around midnight one time, saving us towing fees, time, and paperwork!
There are times when I've felt blessed to help someone, and be helped by someone. If I were in school writing a paper on "what I want most in life," pretty sure that'd be on the list!
So, here's to grabbing a cup of java with an unexpected friend this week!