The Ragamuffin Journal: Selfish, Conceited & Needing Help!
I stole someone’s mascara. She was my best friend and we were in high school. Somehow it (the mascara), ended up with my stuff once at my house or hers. I don’t remember the details, except that I never got around to giving the mascara back to her, even though I knew she was missing it. It just stayed in my backpack until she found it months later.
She was, at that time, my favorite person in the world. I had a few other friends of course. However, the dynamics of my friendship with her were different. She was fun, much more outgoing, people liked her humor. I admired her and felt safe around her. She allowed me to be myself. We lived a few blocks from each other and all through eighth and ninth grade, we were nearly inseperable, walking to and from school, or riding the bus in high school, youth groups, classes together such as geography and algebra where we would sit next to each other, talk, pass hilarious notes that would always cause me to laugh out loud. There were moments where she was not very nice, mean actually. Once she told me we should get off at the next bus stop and walk the long way home. I thought she was right behind me as I made my way to the exit of the bus. She wasn’t. I ended up walking the long way alone. I was forgiving because I understood she was jesting and I enjoyed spending time with her so much that I wanted to ignore instances such as those.
It was more than half way through our freshman year when she discovered her mascara in my backpack. I don’t know how many days it took her to finally confront me, but she did through a note she passed me. I admitted the whole thing to her, at least as much as I could recall. She told me I was selfish, conceited, and that I needed to get help. Our friendship was over, she said, explaining how she sees me differently and how she can’t be friends with someone so dishonest as me. I was devastated! I could not believe how serious the issue was for her. I lost one of the only sincere friends I had at that time. The experience changed my entire outlook on school as I often found myself alone. Not alone literally, but alone in that I didn’t feel comfortable around others, and rarely even felt welcome. I was guilt ridden, humiliated, and just wanted her to understand how sorry I truly was. I knew I was a ragamuffin. I just couldn’t understand why she was so resentful towards me, especially since I knew she must have also hurt someone at some point in her life. Once, I approached her and asked her if she had ever done anything hurtful or wrong. She said that once in her life she did; she dialed 911 intentionally. I thought, “that’s it? That’s all she’s done? She must be an angel!” No way did I believe she was an angel. I was disgusted by her response, and thought, “how dare you tell me I am dishonest and selfish, when you cannot even be honest with yourself!” Nevertheless, I still had so much remorse throughout those next years of high school.
Although she was cordial, she was brutally unforgiving and for a long time, that made it hard for me to forgive myself. Through this I learned a huge lesson about friendship and realize that the truth is, despite my dishonesty in having not returned her mascara, I was likely to be the most honest and sincere person she would have at that time in our lives. It was years later before I was finally able to forgive myself and see that the burden of guilt need not rest on me. After all, it was her choice to end the friendship, not mine.
Friends are Ragamuffins too
I am so thankful today for the wonderful, true, sincere friends I have. Even though things get rough at times, people are hurt. In fact, we hurt those that are closest to us more frequently than those we care little about. My 3 closest friends have been with me for a decade now, sharing life experiences, learning and growing together from our early twenties to now into our thirties (not me yet but I am the baby of the group). We are all ragamuffins saved only by the eternal grace of God. Through that grace, we are able to be accountable to each other. Yes, I mean accountable! On many occasions, my friends can rightly tell me they know what I am capable of getting into, (they often know me better than I know myself). They can throw me a slap in the face, speaking figuratively, and tell me what an idiot I am being. They can wake me up from idealism and bring back to reality, or vice versa, they can inspire me to pursue something greater than what I am currently settling for in life. This is a sign of one ragamuffin reaching out to another.