the main character in the perks of being a wallflower, charlie, is a kid who is a freshman in high school. imdb describes him as “a high school freshman from western pennsylvania that is suffering through the aftermath of his best friend’s suicide and the death of his beloved aunt helen, all while being a ‘wallflower.'”
in one of the final scenes of the movie, there’s a voiceover of charlie writing one last letter. most people remember the famous line at the end of this quote that says, “in this moment i swear, we are infinite.” that line has been tweeted by high school students all over the country as they read the book or watched the movie. there’s something earlier in that letter that stuck out to me though. charlie writes:
i just want you to know that i was in a bad place before i started high school and you helped me. even if you didn’t know what i was talking about … you made me not feel alone.
i haven’t been in high school in a long time. my ten year reunion is actually next year. (that just made me feel really old and some of you even older.) chances are, most people reading this aren’t in high school either. it’s easy to hear or read a quote like that and shrug it off as a nice, pretty saying from someone in high school in a movie. it’s reads completely different if you change the words “high school” and put in a situation you’ve been through.
i just want you to know that i was in a bad place before my divorce and you helped me.
i just want you to know that i was in a bad place before when i lost my job and you helped me.
i just want you to know that i was in a bad place before when we lost our baby and you helped me.
you fill in the blank. for me, that blank would be “when i was depressed and didn’t know what to do with my life.” most of you reading this don’t know my story or why i originally started this blog, but let me take you on a quick trip in time.
in march of 2009, i was coming off of a breakup with my college sweetheart. as most people who date someone in college, i was convinced that i was going to marry her. there’s something about graduating college while dating someone that puts this weird expectation in your head that you have to marry that person. weird, right? not only was i dealing with that, but i had also reluctantly enrolled in seminary. i knew for years that god was calling me into ministry but i had been on the inside of the church since i was a kid and wanted nothing to do with full-time ministry. after hitting rock bottom with depression coming from the breakup and the not knowing what i wanted to do with my life, i gave god’s plan a try and enrolled in seminary (all the while claiming i wasn’t going to work in a church. funny how that works out.).
it’s now four years and one month later from my first post on here (march 28, 2009). i’m closing in on my first wedding anniversary on sunday and couldn’t be happier with life. occasionally i’ll look back at posts i made in that first year while i was trying to figure everything out and feel like i’m reading the writings of some other guy. it’s hard for me to remember what that life feels like.
for many of us, there’s a time in our life that we can look back to and be amazed that we did that or experienced that. we read journal entries and are reminded of a life completely different than the life that we have now. we see a picture from years ago and we are shocked, and thankful, at how far we’ve come.
i never would’ve been able to make it to the point that i am today without a god that loves and pursues me even when i’m flipping him the bird.
i wouldn’t be the person i am today without the people who walked that journey with me.
i never would be able to share the stories i share today without first sharing the ones from back then.
when i decided on the name for this blog, i made the subtitle “one kid’s story of growing up.” the beautiful thing is that we’re all just a bunch of kids and we all have our own stories. your story is different than my story. your spouse’s story is different than your story. we’re all still growing up too. no matter where you are in life, whether it be decades ahead of me or years behind me, you’re living as part of a story that is still evolving and changing.
where you are in that story is not where you were last week. it’s not where you were a year ago. it’s not where you were on march 28, 2009.
i just want you to know that i was in a bad place before i started this isn’t high school and you helped me. even if you didn’t know what i was talking about … you made me not feel alone.
how would you insert yourself into that phrase? who has helped you through it? leave a comment and let us know. but don’t stop there, call or text that person who you think of when you write, “you helped me.” tell them thank you.
we aren’t meant to live our stories on our own.
we are made to make others not feel alone.
say your prayers and take your vitamins.
have a nice day.