Wednesday, September 22, 2010

This is What We Do

We gather and we say hello, rounds of hugs (side hugs, of course, except for one church member who always seems to "capture" me in a full hug) Or maybe there's no hello; just a friendly wave across a crowded room. There. I've acknowledged that person. I don't really need to talk to her. We smiled at each other. All is well.

Since there is facebook, I know all about her week; there is no reason to go and talk, and if I did go and talk, I'd probably be trapped there for who knows how long. It is safer to just nod and wave. "I see you"..... but I don't really see her.

Today while a friend was talking I realized I was completely uninterested in her conversation, and not only me, I wonder if everyone was! But we're polite. We feign interest and then as soon as possible we ask someone else a question, hoping that the person will remain quiet. Ah, this person is much better! No scary stories. No medical stories. What a delight this person is. We don't cut her off, we ask her for more information.

In a world of niceties, I wonder if there is ever a sense of assurance that anyone really cares? Should I even try to converse with someone, knowing that my words might bore them to tears? Knowing that even though they say come in, stay a while, they are really hoping you'll just realize that is just something hospitable Christian people say and the correct response, the polite response, is to decline.

I don't enjoy annoying people. I don't enjoy taking them at their word, believing they care or are interested and finding out later they don't. But what else can one do? Just listen, and excuse oneself to go to the people that are really interesting and pleasant to be around.

I don't really see where Christianity differs from just being a nice, good person. W'e're supposed to be a "family" and maybe we are! Maybe we resemble a dysfunctional, messy family a bit too much.

I really don't know what or why I expect anything different. And I don't know how I can genuinely love a person beyond tolerating them and hoping to move on to someone else that I find more exciting and fun. Truly, I'm so guilty of this..... hoping if I don't make eye contact they wont' talk to me. But they do. They always do and I plaster a polite smile, and half listen and escape as soon as I can.


  1. So if one Sunday I can't catch your eye I'll know why?! ;)

    I've been speaking with Guillaume along these lines recently. Small, inane, polite "talk" has never been his thing. It isn't really mine either, but "raised" as a pastor's daughter in a rather small church it came second nature. I would genuinely enjoy speaking with many of the people, but you're right there are on occassion those one or two people who I'd rather avoid.

    Having experienced a recent paradigm shift in regards to church and specifically our church of late, we're working at making greater effort and enjoying the chance to be a part of a community. (For a while we would come to church just so we 'came' and would leave through the side door to make for a quick escape)!! Now I've not only been trying to make an effort but wanting to make an effort to stay and chat, and yes, use Facebook as a jumping board for further conversation.

    G still isn't fond of it, it still smacks of small talk and doesn't allow for true getting to know you conversation. He prefers sitting across the table, with food preferably on the table, and chatting.

    Small baby steps :)

    Thanks for the post.

  2. Ellie, you are "safe" and most people are safe too... I struggle at times with other's shallowness; it is part of my introverted nature, I guess.

    Good for you for making an effort! Everyone loves you; you are one of the "easy ones" to love. I feel I've tried and have met much resistance and I can't blame them; I'm a bit strange and I could probably do more to join in but I'm truly at a loss as how to do it.

    Anyways, this morning what I saw was just awkward and abrupt and I never want to risk boring people and having them want to escape from me!