My very good friend invited me to go to church with her today, and as we stepped inside a couple of things struck me. Much to my surprise, lightning wasn’t one of them. (Let me just say, it’s been awhile.)
What occurred to me, though, is that I frequently long for some spiritual care but I have not been willing to seek it out on my own. The predominant reason for this – are you ready for it? – is my shyness.
There, I said it. I am shy. People who know me well will read this and think there is no way that is possibly true. For when you see me in my own terrain, I am animated, articulate, and gregarious. But put me in a situation where I know almost no one, a situation that is wholly unfamiliar to me, and I might as well be nine years old clinging to the back of my mom’s pant legs. My heart races, I feel awkward, I pretty much hate it every step of the way.
As I read over the church bulletin, I noticed a section of the morning’s events that included welcoming newcomers. I leaned over to my friend and told her she did not need to feel compelled to stand up and welcome me. She assured me it was nothing like that – but the mere thought of the possibility had me a little panicked. How is it possible that at 45 years old I still get so socially awkward? Does everyone go through this, I wonder?
It also occurred to me is how important it is to be inclusive. Here I am, wanting for something but unable or unwilling to seek it out on my own, held back by my own social inadequacies. It took an invitation from someone I trust to follow through. How much better would the world be if we all just asked others to join us for one thing or another? We are surrounded by people, and yet we are a lonely planet. Maybe the rest of the world is a lot like me…patiently waiting for the slightest encouragement. Maybe some people are not lucky enough to get it.
So I ask you, who can you ask to tag along with you? I’m going to try to do a better job of bringing people along with me to the events that bring me meaningful joy. You never know, we just might make their day.