High school is hard. I think most of high school you spend feeling like a stranger in your own body. Or at least, most people do. I vividly remember this one time where I was talking with someone (pretty sure it was a cute guy) about music. Music was honestly one of my biggest insecurities ever. I really wanted to like cool music, but I really loved Disney Channel and Radio Disney, so a lot of the “Top 40” or even indie stuff I didn’t really know. (I should note the Disney Channel stuff was self-inflicted, I really don’t think my parents cared).
Anyway, so we’re doing PE during the summer, which in Arizona is kind of a joke because most days it gets too hot to do anything so you’re sort of outside for part of the day but half the time you can’t go back out because..heat advisory. We’re talking about music and I could tend to adapt and just play along. I can lie really well guys. I know that’s not really something I should be bragging about, but I can. I developed it as a coping mechanism. So I lied, and then I got the WORST RESPONSE EVER.
“Uhhh they’re a band. Not a person.”
Cue embarassment that could have lasted forever. I’m a one on the Enneagram, for those of you who know what that is and you’re probably laughing now. For those of you who don’t know, ones hold themselves to a super high standard, basically perfectionists, but think about that one moment you have in your life where you always look back and go “Why did I do that?”. Us Ones do that for everything. So this moment was horrible.
Harry has almost this exact moment with Malfoy in Diagon Alley when they’re at Madam Malkins and I totally feel for him. It’s that moment where you know you’re supposed to know something, but you don’t. And it’s in that split second you decide “Do I say I don’t know or act like I do?” I honestly act like I know what I’m doing a lot of the time, but I’ve realized this comes from a place of wanting to fit in.
Harry is so desperate to fit in now that he is in a new place, with new people, a brand new start. However, he’s not willing to compromise who he is, and you see this in his interaction with Malfoy. He doesn’t really like him, or the way he talks about people, about how he’s exclusionary. Harry isn’t willing to change who he is at the core to fit in, and I think that’s something we can learn from him.
We see strangers all over the Bible, when Jacob’s family settles in Egypt and multiplies, when Jesus, a Jew, goes into Samaria. All. Over. the Bible. But to be honest, I see strangers in my church every week. I’m a liberal Christian and when I lived in Arizona I felt like a stranger in my own church. My church there was pretty dang conservative, and I learned so much about myself. However, I felt like a stranger there. I liked a Planned Parenthood post on Facebook once, and got a bunch of “concerned messages” about why I would support them. I know their heart, I know they care for me.
I don’t know if many of them knew what to do with a stranger. Sometimes it felt as if I was the first real, true liberal they met, and liked and didn’t know what to do with that. I’ll be honest, sometimes it was hard for me, knowing where some people that I love and care about (still to this day) stand, and not letting it effect me. But knowing them has made my life better, and I hope knowing me has made theirs better, and usually we just…don’t talk politics.
It’s this weird thing, being a stranger. And when I came to California, I realized I wasn’t a stranger anymore, even though I was more anonymous than I’d ever been. But I felt less like a stranger because I was surrounded by people who saw the world the same as me (more or less). But it makes me always hurt a little for those people, who like myself were born and raised in a world they don’t agree with. Those little red dots in blue oceans, or blue dots in red oceans. An eleven year old boy thrust into a world that is his, but also isn’t. That little baby born in a manger who came to this world and didn’t belong here, was a stranger here.
My heart is with them, and my goal, will forever be to come alongside them, and let them know that I love them, that they are loved, and that we’ve all felt like a stranger at times.