Do you see yourself in others?

My oldest son attended the University of Notre Dame.  Justin was a true fan (as in “fanatic”) of Fighting Irish football.  He lived and died by their win/loss record, hosted a weekly campus radio show on the subject, and even dyed his hair kelly green one semester.  He dressed as a (6-foot tall) leprechaun for every home game, and in the midst of a student section filled with screaming fans, he so stood out from the crowd that he was twice named “fan of the game” and we got to see him on national television.
Sometimes we’d say to him, “Justin, d’ya think you’re maybe taking this whole thing a bit too seriously?  It’s only a game, ya know?”  His reaction to our suggestion that Notre Dame football was NOT the center of the Universe was, typically, “ARE YOU KIDDING?!”
We just let him be.  He was, after all, in college.
This year he’s living in Nashville and studying with a chef as he takes a year off before starting graduate school next year.  To keep expenses down, he linked up with five other guys to rent a house.  Those other five are all still in school, two of them in grad school themselves.  Saturdays are spent glued to one of the many flat screen TVs in the house, following college football.
This weekend Justin called home on Sunday to tell us a funny story.  One of his roommates (Joe) graduated from Tennessee State. During their game on Saturday, Justin observed, Joe was ‘over the edge’ — screaming at the screen, swearing at mistakes, jumping up and down, angry when Tennessee fell behind and jubilant when they scored.  And Justin had a huge insight.
“I suddenly realized ‘Ohmigod — that’s what I’m like when I’m watching a Notre Dame game!’  No wonder people are always telling me, ‘calm down.’  I’m a maniac!”
Yes.  And how interesting that you could not see that in yourself until you encountered someone just like you.
How often do we not recognize in ourselves when there’s a concern, yet we can so clearly see it in others?  I think that’s because people are mirrors, and they reflect back at us what we are unable to see otherwise.



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