I've often said that I have no fear of public speaking. I can get up in front of a room of people and talk, prepared or un, no problem. National TV, that got my nerves jumping a bit, but didn't tie my tongue. Initiating conversation, though, will get me every time. And that applies to verbal and electronic communication. I over think what I'm going to say and how I'm going to say it, and generally come across awkward or unsocial. I've made some strides forward recently, though.
On Saturday night, I announced to my family that I was running away. My 4 year old burst in to tears, and though I felt a little bad that my pronouncement upset her so, I ran away anyway. I really needed it and knew I would be a better mom when I came back. So I stopped at See's candy for a few choice treats and proceeded to a thrift store in an attempt to get back to my more eclectic roots. As I was shopping, I noticed a cute girl sifting through the stacks of small plates. I circled the aisle, trying to figure out what she was doing without actually speaking to her. I gave up, though, and opened my mouth.
"At the risk of sounding creepy, can I ask what you're planning to do with the plates?" Not creeped out at all, she explained that she was picking out yellow and black plates for serving dessert at dinner parties. The plates didn't match, but the colors did, and I could imagine what a cute table she would set. I thanked her for her inspiration, and moved on, secretly patting myself on the back for actually conversing with a stranger.
I've made steps in my electronic communique as well. I've been reading a lot of blogs lately, many of them written by strangers who are wise and witty. One of them had also written an article that I enjoyed in a magazine recently, and after thinking about it for days, I went ahead and wrote her a comment telling her how much I appreciated her article. This was a big step for me, and may even lead to me commenting on some of the other blogs I've been anonymously stalking.
But there is an area where I really failed lately because of my reticence to approach people and I'm sitting here in a big pot of guilt stew right now. In my church congregation, there is a young woman who I feel a connection to. She's been struggling lately, and while I've tried to be friendly, I haven't reached out to her like I know that I should. Recently, she was living out of state for a while, and week after week at church I felt prompted to talk to her mom and get the girl's address so I could send her a little note of encouragement. But I didn't do it.
I got nervous that her mother wouldn't want to talk about what was going on. I worded and reworded how I would ask for the address (such a small thing) until I got so tongue tied I couldn't say anything. I forgot. I didn't do anything when I remembered. I got distracted. I talked myself out of talking. I didn't reach that tiny bit out of myself.
And today that young woman got herself in a world of trouble. I know what happened isn't my fault, but that won't stop my failure in reaching out to her from earning a high place on my list of things I will always regret.
Over the last couple of weeks, I've been thinking about things I need to improve on, including being closer to and recognizing the Spirit better.
To begin with, I will start conversations.