“Hey bro, what’s going on?”
“Oh, just getting some liquor. Like usual.”
“Ha, me too,” I replied.
We’re not super close friends by any means, but he’s a guy I always enjoy running into. So when I bumped into him at the grocery store on Halloween afternoon, we caught up for a bit.
The typical small talk was exchanged about work, the family, the usual.
We were about to do the bro hug thing and say our goodbyes when he hesitated for a second.
Like there was something on his mind. But he wasn’t sure how I’d receive it.
“I’ve been meaning to reach out to you, maybe grab some lunch. I have this idea I’ve been working on…”
There it was.
This dream, right under the surface.
Once he was brave and opened up, we stood there for 10 more minutes talking about this vision he has, this cool idea, this community he’s forming.
“Yeah man, let’s do it. Let me know when you want to grab lunch. Have a great Halloween.”
We went our separate ways, getting home in time to our families so we could begin canvassing the neighborhood for candy.
That conversation wasn’t the highlight of my Halloween, that took place with our family and friends later that evening. But I kept coming back to it a few times today.
See, life is hard. That’s no secret.
Many days it feels like you’re drowning but everyone else is passing by thinking you’re having a grand time so you smile and wave.
And frankly, sometimes when it’s not hard, it’s just mundane.
But, like my buddy at the grocery store, I think there’s a little flame, a little flicker of a vision, or a dream, or an idea that is waterproof.
Something that is unable to be extinguished, even when it feels like you’re fully submerged without a way out.
But it’s risky to admit it’s in there. Especially to folks you don’t really know, you know?
It’s easier to talk about your day job, or the weather, or complain about this or that, or keep things surface about the kids, or talk about how great the Chiefs are (and they are great).
I know those topics are definitely my go to more often than not.
But it’s a cover story. It’s a façade. A mask.
Maybe not as gory or obvious as the masks we all saw last night, but it’s every bit as real.
And under it all is something that feels scary and makes us hesitate in grocery stores with acquaintances.
The internal voice sounds more like a bad alarm clock on a short night’s sleep than a conversation with a nice friend.
Geez, I don’t know. Should I tell him? Should I go there? Or should I just mention something safer? Maybe he’ll think it’s dumb. Maybe he’ll reject it. Maybe it’s a stupid idea…
I’m glad my buddy told me.
It connected us in a way that impacted me. And if he didn’t bring it up yesterday, it would have been yet another shallow conversation I’m so good at having.
But one that would have floated away into wherever memories go that you can’t remember.
So go ahead, Halloween’s over – it’s safe to take off the mask.
Because that flame isn’t going to go out.