Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Public Isolation

The older I get and the more introverted I become. Truth is, I think I've always been fairly introverted, but since I like people so much, I've been an introvert in disguise.

Maybe I'm making that all up and it's a bunch of foolishness, but nonetheless I have been taking note of this often lately.

A few things to note about me:

- If you ever see me and you think I see you but then I don't talk to you, don't be offended. I probably DID see you, but my lack of desire to speak to you is simply a result of my own insecurity. I often remember people that don't remember me and have had one too many awkward moments in which I've had to reintroduce myself to people.  I also assume right away that you probably don't want to talk to me (which I'm sure isn't true) so rather than creating an awkward moment in which you're forced to have a conversation with me, I'm probably just going to duck and turn the other way.

- I deliberately seek out places where I won't know people.  If I have things to do, I actually DON'T want to talk to you. I just get too easily distracted. So if I'm working on an essay, trying to catch up on my reading, etc., I'm probably avoiding any human interaction on purpose.

-If I see you on the train/bus and I'm wearing headphones, I'm probably ignoring you too. Not because I don't like you or don't want to talk to you, but because my time alone with my music in my commute is really precious to me and my prayer life, and I typically am not present in the moment during those times. If you do talk to me, I'll likely be a little out of the norm because I've just stepped out of a conversation with God to talk to you.

That leads me to my next point.  I've recently come to discover just how much I enjoy being publicly isolated. That is, when I'm out in public, surrounded by people - be it at a coffee shop, tea shop, library, book store, etc. - and I can slap on a pair of headphones, break out a computer, book, or notebook, and lose myself in working, reading, or writing. I really don't like doing these things at home. I never have. It's only now that I'm realizing why.  There something comforting in being surrounded by people but being in my own world - as though none of them are there.  I actually SEEK OUT coffee shops that are not empty, only to sit in them and talk to no one other than the servers - which are actually some of my favorite conversations anyway (I also really enjoy interacting with total strangers).

All that to say, I realize that if I'm not careful, these things can actually IMPEDE my relationship with the Lord and my missional mindset.  I want to ensure I'm not cutting off any necessary and beautiful conversations or interactions, and I also want to make sure I don't send off an "I'm too good to talk to you," message, because that's also not the case. It's just that as someone who is in SOCIAL work school, I'm interacting with people ALL DAY, and I need those special times to keep to myself and really seek the Lord. I pray they do not become SELF minded, but rather are looked at as times to refresh and regenerate for the interactions I DO have.

But seriously, if you've never isolated yourself in a public place, I HIGHLY recommend giving it a try.

1 comment:

ThistleAshD said...

I can relate to so many of these things. I am such an introvert. And being around people all day wears me out. I've often come off haughty though, especially when I was younger. But really I just like alone time. It makes me overly anxious to not get it. I'm still learning to find the balance of respecting that God made me as someone who needs alone time (bc He did) but also recognize the call to serve others.