My good friend.
May 19, 2012, 2:59 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Owen Walsh is my best friend.  He is from Alaska, which is super cool but it’s not why I love the guy.  Owen is a great example of homeschooling gone-right.  As a public schooler I’ve been programmed to think homeschoolers are just a subspecies of humans that don’t have “social skills” (whatever those are?) and game their brains out because they lack human interaction. I now know that’s a fallacy. Owen proved me wrong, so wrong.  Owen explained homeschooling to me as “being taught how to think rather than what to think” and he showed that to me with his life.  Being around Owen shed light on how shallow my public education really was. School wasn’t about what I learned but more so about parroting the “right” answer back to my social judge and jury. Owen showed me that life isn’t a contest, it’s an adventure and the scorekeepers don’t matter.

Owen is different. He isn’t conventional; he questions things and shrugs off the silly junk.  He does what he wants and I love that.  I have a clear recollection of driving down the cascade pass with my good friend on a beautiful blue bird summer day.  Owen was driving and we were going on about random business. As we passed the first lake I, thinking I might get a rise out of my friend, said that I “missed being spontaneous” with him. It had been a while since the two of us had free time to do anything adventurous.  I expected Owen to respond with something simple and profound or maybe just a couple grunts, like he does. He didn’t respond for a moment. It didn’t really phase me. Owens non-response is rarely a statement. The man was thinking.  Then, out of nowhere, he yanked the wheel right, into one of the parking areas along the lower lake. I’m a bit confused as Owen throws the car into park and runs through the bushes stripping his clothes and throwing them to the air.  Reaching the water, he throws off the last of his clothes and takes a big goofy jump into the cold lake water.  Finally realizing that this was the response to my statement, I followed in-suit, or out of suit I guess you could say.

That moment, and most moments I’ve spent with Owen, inspired me. It was one of those moments of comfort where you know no one is going to call you silly or naive or immature. Real people give up criticizing things are and they actually do stuff.  I don’t think Owen would criticize me or call me naive. He will call me out if I’m doing something harmful but he won’t hesitate to jump in and join the adventure if my hearts right. He will back me up.

There was another day Owen inspired me.  It was a couple summers after we had been roommates. At this point Owen is back home in Alaska, and happily married to his beautiful wife, Jess.  I called him, in tears, because I had made some stupid decisions.  I had blinded myself with emotion and felt I had no one to lead me out of the emptiness.  I explained the situation to him and tried to get him to see my point of view. He understood.  He made it clear that he understood. But he called me out. He told me that I knew what I had to do and that he expected me to do it.  For a guy that’s not known for his great communication skills, he made his point. His words had become my true north.  I was lost at sea and he had shined through like Polaris. His words were a point of navigation that I could work with.  That night Owen spoke the truth to me, in love. He saved me from some serious crap. He is a true friend.

If you haven’t got the picture yet, I really look up to my best friend. Owen is a real man. He is quirky and weird and he would never deny it. I love that about my friend. I’ve yet to find another  friend like Owen Walsh. I don’t mean to exalt a guy more than its called for but Owen has had such an impact on my life that shrugging it off  would be a dis-justice. I thank God for my friend.

Owen wants to live in a sail boat someday…I think he will do it.


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