I was pumped. I got in the car to make the slightly-longer-than-an-hour drive from Cypress to College Station to visit a friend attending the rival school (Hook ‘Em) and swap out life stories at our favorite coffee shop (shout out to MugWalls and all the Aggies reading this).
It was going to be wonderful. I had all the essentials for a good road trip, including the life-changing book I planned to share with my friend - The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis. Looking at the cover triggered memories of the three cities and 9 bookstores I raided to hunt down the book with less than a quarter of a tank of gas, of lamp-lit nights I cherished while sprawled out on the floor with a notebook and a glass of milk nearby and of relationships enhanced by the lessons found within the pages.
Each memory sparked another, and I realized the book was worth so much more to me than its monetary value. And as I drove, the excitement I initially held slowly started to morph into something else.
Tiny insecurities bubbled up in the corner of my mind and accumulated till I began doubting she would enjoy the book, assuming she would be irritated at the notes I scribbled in the margins and dreading she might accidentally misplace the book. Each new worry rose in its degree of intensity and began to plague my mind, causing me to doubt whether I should share the book with her.
Then it hit me.
I was worried my friend wouldn’t respond the same way I did to my book. That worry made me hesitant to share it. If she did not share the same interest in the book, a representation of my intimate memories, could that mean she did not share interest in other things I valued closely? Would that have a negative effect on our friendship?
I parked in front of her house still uncertain of what to do, and as I moved my backpack from the passenger seat my friend opened the door and saw my book still lying on the seat. She immediately said, “Good! You brought it! I can’t wait to read it.”
Those few words dissolved all the worries that had been boiling up within me.
Friendship is one of Lewis’ four loves, and of it he wrote,“In this kind of love, as Emerson said, ‘Do you love me?’ means ‘Do you see the same truth?’ – Or at least, ‘Do you care about the same truth?’ The man who agrees with us that some question, little regarded by others, is of great importance can be our Friend. He need not agree with us about the answer.”
Because I focused on the degree of influence the book would have on my friend’s life, I forgot the importance of simply sharing interest in Lewis’ thoughts on love. That shared interest created opportunity for a deeper bond and new memories to form between the two of us. It made me wonder how often I let my worries inhibit opportunities of growing friendships and adding new, life-enhancing memories bound to my belongings.