“Are you a student at University A?”
I was walking to evening prayers. Walking carefully because the path is gravel, and I trip easily on gravel. That question threw me off. Are you a student at University A?
I live in one of those places in America that has two big universities… and they’re rivals. Supposedly, armadillos and beavers don’t talk to each other because they’re on opposite sides of a war. It’s like oil and water; they just don’t mix. In reality, there’s a lot of cross traffic between the universities; students and faculty go back and forth all the time. But I digress.
I turned to the guy speaking. “Good afternoon. Actually, I’m a student at University B.” I braced myself for gross disappointment. Because that’s what armadillos tend to do when they discover you’re a beaver. Instead, he reached over and gave me a high five.
“You’re a beaver??? Awesome!! I’m a beaver, too!
“Listen. The folks around here call me Jim. You let me know if any of those armadillos give you a hard time. I’ve got your back. I smile to those armadillos but I’m glad you’re a beaver!”
The conversation really threw me. I’m not that loyal to my own university for reasons related to my experience there. Plus, I was walking into a chapel. Who needs security guards at prayers?
But then, it dawned on me. Jim’s one of the guys who lives on the church property. He’s seen me often enough to recognize that I’m part of the community. That means he wanted to know more about me. He realized that I was someone special. He knew that I cared about him in the slightest so he welcomed me into his midst.
For the girl who gets rejected a lot, that’s special.