What Tess wrote is all correct. The events of last term were striking: there was a line of demarcation mid-term when Sebastian's world burst and the dam holding him together gave way. I sometimes wonder "to what degree?" Looking down from way above one would draw the same conclusions as Tess. Metaphorically I would say that Sebastian is changing lanes. Perhaps changing highways might be a better way to describe it. I imagine he is uncertain of the highway ahead. Maybe he sees congestion or a mishap. Maybe he's throttling down, not sure what lays in the glimmer of the sun, spray of the rain beyond, or even the road falling beneath him from the collapsing dam.
Ahead there is an off ramp. He's changing lanes to take that ramp and venture off in a different direction. He'll find himself in unknown territory. Maybe lost for a while. Possibly moving slower. Or he might even go faster. He'll hit potholes, spin out and crash, stop and curse. But in the end, his trust will be without borders. He'll go deeper than his feet could ever wonder. His faith will be made stronger. He's on a road less travelled and I know it won't be easy. Why? First, Sebastian probably doesn't even know he's changing roads and second, I've been on that road.
My close friends in Toronto often joke that I was born in a jacket and tie. My dam burst very young - much younger than Sebastian. At school I was pretty much a nobody. At least it looked that way from my side of the world. That changed a bit in junior high when KP and I hooked up. She had cachet. I rode that wave for about a year. Meanwhile, being skinny made me an easy target until I took Judo lessons and one day knocked out the hallway ceiling tiles after shoulder flipping TP who tried to dump my books. The predators backed away. I'm clear they weren't bullies. The teachers were a bit conflicted on who should get the detention. In the end none were issued.
High school wasn't much better. The school was repeatedly winning football championships and had US students venturing north in hopes they'd pick up American college scholarships through our school. I was a mouse compared to these guys. I'll never forget RF who, after perfectly catching the ball at the opening kick-off of a championship game, ran the entire length of the football field to score a touchdown. The crowd went wild and like the Road Runner we all swore he left flames in his tracks. The sobering truth hit me when I learned his thigh, pure muscle, had a circumference of 28 inches against my 23 inch waist.
The following year, Grade 12, God issued me my own after-burners. I discovered I was fast, and if I trained my mind and body, really fast. Somewhere in there I ran a casually timed 4:04 mile and a mentor tried to point me toward a more competitive arena. I declined and while I still ran lots of running races and did okay, my world was best described by a lifelong friend, David Brightling, who half sarcastically said, "Charles suffered the legacy of the lonely long distance runner."
Through all those years I had few school friends. Either the friendships weren't formed en masse or people pulled away in boredom of me. In the psychological world that made me an introvert. Outside of school I loved boats and sailing. In the sailing world I was more of a somebody. I took that off ramp, striking even further afield after starting my own marine business when I was sixteen. That lasted fourteen years. None of my school friends had any idea. The ensuing years, paralleled by university, forged some good friendships that I still have today. But the shadow of the other half of the equation - the half where friends didn't exist - was always hard to solve for. I was never good at that math and loneliness typically followed the = sign. There were good times and bad times, but isn't that the case with all of us? Any doctor will tell you a flatline is bad. (At left, from left: Tim, Stephen [oldest friend from four years old and claims I was born in a tie], me, Anne, Fred and Tess at a mini reunion in July 2013, Toronto. David Brightling was out of town and unable to attend.)
Sebastian is also not good at this version of math and he is definitely taking a road less travelled. It looks very familiar. I can see the map unfolding. What does Sebastian have going for him?
- Sebastian is fast and if he puts his mind to it, could be very fast.
- Sebastian is creative with a fearless, vivid imagination. No horror story seems to phase him.
- Sebastian loves technology and wants to learn lots about computers, making movies etc.
- Sebastian loves God and is a powerful intercessor.
- Given an enticing book, he is an excellent reader but easily bored.
- Sebastian has a funny sense of humour evolving.
- Sebastian is extraordinarily kind. Sure, we all have our grumpy days (me more often than others) but most of the time Sebastian cares deeply that others are okay and looked after.
What I know matters now is the investment of time to help Sebastian sort and understand his experiences. Chances are Sebastian won't understand the road less travelled and he needs GPS to guide the way. The messages coming in are pretty confusing at the moment and the emotions bubbling up, hard to keep in check. Sebastian doesn't have the armour of resilience. We've identified part of the source, which I'll share more about at another time. For now the map needs to unfold until we see the path we're on.
Sebastian also reads our blogs. Hi Seb, I love you and am really proud of you and all you're becoming. I used an Aston Martin above because if you're on a road not taken, I know you'd want to be in that car!