I had a client last night that was feeling disconnected from his peers because he doesn't pretend very well. He's real, he's deep, he's smart and he's kind. Socially, that can be a challenge on a college campus. This guy was sitting in front of me asking if he should learn how to "play the game" so he could have more friends. I wanted to grab him and yell "Don't you dare!".
I love this kid. I love his intensity and his passion and his dark and wandering thoughts. I love that he's out on the edge of the abyss of his own mind and he's leaning way out over the deep darkness, curious about what's bumping around in there. It's uncomfortable, and it's scary, and it makes him feel like he's doing something wrong and dangerous, but he knows that if he turns around and walks away from that it will haunt him for the rest of his life.
He knows how to live in a cage. He knows that it feels safe and the rules are given to you, and you get to have your life simplified. Here's the thing, he stepped outside that cage, and he has seen it from the outside.
It cannot be unseen.
So he's sort of stuck on this ledge. I know he's going to be ok. More than that, I know he's going to be one of those men that moves people in a really profound way. The people who are fortunate enough to be touched by his words, his actions and the way he dares to ask questions that have no answers will be grateful for that experience.
I know I am.
So, for now, we sit on that ledge together, sometimes throwing pebbles into the darkness to see if they hit something. Sometimes just sitting. What he needs more than anything is just to know he's OK.
I think, at the end of the day, that's all any of us really need.