The true observations of friends are sometimes the greatest compliments and sometimes the most condemning curses. Today I received both.
I went out with one of my great friends and we were having a random conversation as always when the guy sitting next to us leans in and says, “That sounds like a deep conversation.” Without missing a beat, my friend says, “He has no shallow end. Whenever we go out, there’s no small talk”
I smiled and took it in. This was not small talk. I do not know if it was intended as a compliment or a condemnation, but he is the one who had invited me out, so I guess it wasn’t, much of a condemnation if it was such. I’d like to think it a compliment, but as I consider it, I am sure that it is not an entirely good thing. I am also pretty sure he had no idea how deeply moving and meaningful those words were. He has a shallow end.
I pondered this in my drunkenness for quite a while, and awaken, here, at this sentence with a million things to say. The first thing I must say is thank you. It amazes me when I find references in the hearts of others that explains the title of this blog.
The ocean is mostly surrounded by “shallow ends.” The term “shallow end” really didn’t have a meaning until we started building manmade lakes in backyards. So once again, I am a “manmade ocean”. I have these edges that don’t mesh well with others. These edges require others to dive in or fall in and be immersed in the depth of my soul. It is no wonder to me that I do not “have game.” Dating is about splashing around in each other’s shallow end until people have the courage to venture deeper into one another. Not me. I’m going to throw you into the pool. You’re going to get a full dose or nothing at all. Perhaps I am too intense.
It is the same for me, with friendship. I am fast friends with people. I don’t have a shallow end. You go from stranger to loved one in nothing flat. I’ve spent so much of my life, putting up fences and walls around my soul because it is terrifying to think what would happen if I let someone into the depths of my love and it was the wrong person. I question people before I let them in. I don’t look inviting on purpose. I have a detached mask that I put on, just under my skin, and listen to people while I quietly decide if I should let them in. Once I decide to let them in, and they see the pool, it is not a very long time before they dive in, or are most likely pushed in by the laughing child who squats in my pool house.
I know, on some level this is not what he meant in that heartbeat that the words fell from his lips. What he meant was that I would do this. He meant that I would spin his simple sentence into this amazingly over exaggerated life changing event. He meant that I see the depth in people and words very quickly and am comfortable in the deep end, so I would voice this, all of this. We do not always fully grasp the wisdom in the words we speak. If you’ve ever given someone the advice you had ignored in the past and then continued to ignore it, yourself, in the future, you know exactly what I am talking about.
Early in this post, I mentioned that he has a shallow end. It sounded insulting and even condescending. If you’ve understood the depth I speak of, I hope you understand the magic of having a shallow end. It is a gift. I love finding people who have soul with depth, and he certainly has one, but he also has the ability to make small talk and make many friends. The thing about a shallow end is it is the promise of depth, with a gentle introduction. Many people do not have shallow ends because they are just big plastic bowls we fill with water and let children splash around in until they grow up. Yes, most people are kiddy pools and I am talking about their capacity for friendship and love and relationships, not because they lack depth of character, but because they are afraid to even let anyone see how deeply they can be touched.