A few months ago I was talking to one of my friends about a great contrast that I have seen within the sphere of Christianity. Many of my closest friends from APU know that when I hear the words "Homecoming King" I begin to cringe and turn "super-duper" awkward. For me, this persona was always one that my heart struggled against. This does not disregard anything of my time at APU or the blessing that the memories of that place still hold in my mind. For me, this insecurity lies in being categorized in a group which I hold little relationship to. For lack of a better name, I will call this group the "Invincibles." To me the invincibles is a group of people that I have never been able to understand. These people are real people who, many of which, I deeply respect, admire, and sometimes even envy a little. When I visit their homes the absence of conflict seems shocking. Their fathers are loving pastors or businessmen. He takes is wife out on "date night" and goes on vacation with her because he likes to do it. The Invincibles don't usually live extravagantly but have a nice family sized house with lots of happy pictures and a "footsteps" poem in their bathroom. They attend church every week as children and grow up and go to school at places like APU, not because they are forced to, but because they have been so profoundly impacted by a Godly family that they desire to build a family like that of their own. They go to APU and get a business degree. Their senior year they meet a wife/husband who grew up the same way. They have a beautiful wedding where everyone has to take communion and listen to "Come just as you are" as they walk down the aisle on a cliff above Laguna. They both get great jobs, are completely happy, are involved in their church and love everyone they come in contact with, and in the end they raise children just like themselves.
Then, there's me and my group. I call us the "wounded." Growing up in my family there were rarely happy moments. In fact, no one usually wanted to come visit my house. Sure, my parents loved me and raised me the best that they could, but we had some really hard times. In fact, those times were so hard that I was depressed and wanted to kill myself. That was why I came to know Jesus, because I needed him just to get me out of bed to go to basketball practice every morning. In fact, it wasn't untill APU that I finally was at a place where I could have an on-going state of joy from being in community. Yet, for those of us in the wounded category, we all know what it is like when we face the invincibles. They are a reminder that we have a whole life outside of school; one that we have to face every time we go home. It's funny because as a wounded, graduation almost feels like a reentry into that life. You realize that the real world is a tough place and that old habits die hard. Not only that but things don't get easier, most of the time you face even bigger issues than you did growing up. Sometimes you wonder if you are destined to a life of hardship upon hardship. This leads to a questioning of your faith and a lack of understanding as to "why God lets these things happen." You know all the right answers to that question because you took Exo/Deut and went to see Francis Chan in chapel everytime he spoke. Yet, it still doesn't add up in your gut. Still, there's that ache in your heart that believes and you don't quite give up.
I don't hate the invincibles. They were born the way they are and I'm glad I have them as my friends. They remind me that there is a right way of doing things. On the other hand, I would never lose my place as a wounded. In my last blog I talked about Elliott Smith. I think that the greatest gift of suffering is the bond it brings. Sometimes I like to think about Jesus the same way. Maybe in that Old Testament stuff he just didn't get us. He just didn't understand why we were so stupid and made all these bad mistakes. Sometimes I like to think that maybe God just wanted so bad to understand why Humanity was so hard. I feel like when He came to be one of us, He did it just as much for us as he did for himself. I look at when He saw Lazarus die and He cried. I think He cried because He understood. He understood what it was like to experience the pain that we experience; a pain that could not usually be experienced by an "Invincible" God. I hope that I never become so wounded that I can't believe anymore. I hope I never become so invincible that I don't cry with someone else.