In science, there is a concept called potential energy. The idea is that certain systems have energy stored within them that can be released. One example of this can be observed in chemical reactions where bond forming leads to a release in stored energy (known as an exothermic reaction). It is always a joy for me to find social equivalences of what I read in my textbooks and, for as far as potential energy goes, I believe to have made a connection. I believe that there exists wonderful potential for joy for individuals that can be realized in the forming of bonds with a special other, who sometimes is an unexpected person.
It was eleventh grade year when I met my, now, closest friend. She took chemistry with me and sat in the row in front of me. Aside from homework we rarely talked that year. However, once, in a half hearted attempt to get to know her, I did ask her what she did on the weekends and she said that she mostly hung out with her family. Hearing that, I then thought she was the strangest person I had ever met and concluded we would probably never hang out: for, at that point in my life, I couldn’t stand being home and was always out late with friends partying or trying to party. After the end of that semester, there was no contact between us for a year. She was, at that point, an interesting wave that held my attention when it came to break upon me. But, in the big scheme of my ocean journey, she was only a small part of a large memory of many similar waves.
Luckily, next year, Fortune gave us a second chance to realize the potential within us by giving us three year long classes together. During the first couple months, we began by making the conversations mostly about schoolwork; however, this time, our personal lives started to slip into conversation as we continued talking. In one pivotal conversation that digressed from the topic of homework, we found out that both of us loved to walk, so we decided to start walking with each other after school. Walking soon became our favorite thing to do and we would go almost daily for strolls just to talk about whatever was on our minds. Before I began talking to her, I had never been able to communicate so clearly and honestly with anyone. We would spend hours, as we walked, talking about everything from our ideas about God to what it means to be conscious. Every night, as we journeyed upon a new topic, I felt a joy of satisfaction: finally, I had found the person, who I felt existed all my life, to whom I could share my mind.
Though it took Amy, the girl that sat in front of me in chemistry, and I a year to realize each other, our companionship has been unimaginably fruitful. That is why I believe there is a potential for happiness stored between individuals that only awaits discovery to be released.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.