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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)

TITLE: Forever Different
By Randy Chambers


Where exactly does a misfit fit in? I might be able to answer that question now. But as a shy, retiring, and insecure teenage boy, that question eluded me, haunted me, and nearly drove me crazy. Nevertheless, I did finally manage to find a group who took pity on me and take me into their fold.

Though I never really looked the part, I found my place with...well...the 'geeks,' and the 'nerds.' I wore no pocket protector; no eyeglasses or high-water pants. I carried no calculator, protractor, or text books on quantum physics. In appearance I was, dare I say it, a pretty boy. My hair was perfect, my clothes were fashionable for the day, and I turned a few heads. But nice looks alone did not outweigh the lingering stigma bestowed on me by my choice of friends. As for the girls of interest to me; well, weíll just say they had very little interest in me.

Interestingly enough, as a result of being part of such a group, a number of people got the wrong impression about me--thatís, right--they thought I was smart. That myth was disbanded in time after my various displays of blank stares, and shoulder shrugs in response to teachersí classroom questions gave indication I was no Einstein. I donít recall, but there is a good chance I didnít even know who Einstein was.

In the eyes of so many who saw me as un-cool, I was the coolest in my group of friends. And yet, in my group of friends, my coolness was not like their coolness, which, of course, left me as yet still, the most un-cool. But they were great guys and didnít really care about all that. It didnít bother them that I was different. It was ok with them that I was concerned with my grooming. It didnít even bother them that when they talked, I often gave them the same blank stare I gave my teachers. But I listened to them anyway, and that in and of itself seemed to mean something to them.

There was an interesting side-affect to being the Ďdifferentí guy in such a Ďdifferentí kind of group. There were moments that I, in my less-smarter-than-they kind of way, would say something simple--something I believe God had placed in my heart. And then came the silence. But not the kind where everyone is secretly thinking, "He's an idiot." It was a silence that came as they contemplated what was said.

I am always in awe at how God can use us in our most humbling of circumstances. When we see ourselves as nothing, He can freely use us to accomplish so much. "For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength" (1 Cor. 1:25).

Itís kind of odd growing up and not really fitting well into any group; and then barely fitting into a group who really did not fit in themselves.

As a desperate teenager, I tried so hard to fit into the group of guys that were willing to let me hang out with them. But I could never shake the fact that I was still different. I believe it was because another Friend of mine had affected me so that my likeness to Him kept me from really ever fitting in with those groups in which I desperately wished to be included. It was tough at the time, but I have to say I am happy with my understanding of things now. When I was hanging out with Jesus, I was in the group above all others. That is a fact, I am now content with--and it is a fact, I now can happily say has made me forever different.

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This article has been read 801 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Betty Castleberry02/09/08
A lot of truth here. I really like this line:
"Itís kind of odd growing up and not really fitting well into any group; and then barely fitting into a group who really did not fit in themselves."
The ending makes the story. Nicely done.
Karen Wilber02/09/08
I like this. Like the MC's voice. Like the message at the end about hanging with Jesus. Laughed along with the Einstein comments.
Patty Wysong02/10/08
Hehe. I could relate to the blank stare bit! I love the point the MC came to--He's the best one to fit in with!!
Lyn Churchyard02/11/08
Oh I did like this. It kept me reading till the very end. I loved the voice, it was like watching a movie of his life.
Smart MC to realise "When I was hanging out with Jesus, I was in the group above all others".
Wish I felt like that ALL the time instead of being concerned that I don't seem to fit into a particular group.
Sharlyn Guthrie02/11/08
Those associations growing up can have a lasting affect on us. Your observations of the group and your place in it are priceless.