Wow, lots of comments about leaving in silence – who would have thought? If you haven’t checked out the comments, go back and read, especially Bethany, Jim, and Becky. Three different views on it and all very good.
I don’t always feel the full impact of Holy Week the way I wish I could. Some of it is because I am so conscious of being up front, a subject I’ve written on before. Some of it is that I don’t always allow for the Holy Spirit to work in my heart. I once heard someone say (or maybe I read it someplace) that if you sit through a sermon and just think about the other people who “need” to hear it, then you are missing the whole point of the sermon. It might have been in the book Life Together, actually, which if you haven’t read it, go READ IT. Especially if you’re a Christian, especially if you live with other people, and especially if you struggle with community the way I do.
I am painfully shy. Not everyone knows this about me because I can handle making conversation when I need to. But I would rather duck out of a room than have to navigate across a crowd of people who might stop me and engage me in conversation. And believe me, being the pastor’s wife on Easter Sunday means crowds and conversation.
Here’s the thing – it’s not that I hate talking to people. I get freaked out by the idea of talking to people. Anyone who has dealt with shyness knows what I mean. I was teased mercilessly as a kid for not wanting to talk to others. I worked for a church once where the pastor had to teach me to leave my door open for people. When I’m around people that I don’t know well (and it will be a year before I feel like I know people at this congregation well), I just don’t want to participate. I realize this is an anxiety issue, one I need to work on, but that’s the truth.
So I think it’s part of why I find it easy to criticize those who don’t leave in silence. Holy Week is the one time of the year when I get to avoid the conversation gauntlet. It’s a cop out, but there you go. And being around crowds just plain exhausts me.
I spent Easter afternoon and most of yesterday fighting off a major bout of depression that I couldn’t put my finger on. I knew it was there, like a heavy cloud descending on my head, but I can usually pinpoint the source. I think I figured it out this morning. I came home yesterday afternoon from running errands and spent the evening in bed watching television, went to sleep at 11 pm, and didn’t fully wake up until 11 am this morning! I think between the crowds of people, dinner with my husband’s extended family (he has aunts and uncles who live in this area), and lack of sleep on the night before Easter (gotta love sunrise services), I was just wiped out.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy spending time with his family. But again, it’s being around people that I don’t know very well. Prior to moving here we didn’t spend much time around his extended family. There are days when I would rather just run off to a retreat with some of you that I already know really well, maybe bring a few new friends along, and forget about my responsibilities. But I remember that Bonhoeffer himself talks about how we are to live in community with each other, and I know I need to work on some things in my life. Thank you all for being a part of it.
bethany actually said:
I don’t consider myself shy—I’m not socially anxious, I don’t worry about what people will think of me, I don’t have a problem meeting new people—but I do consider myself introverted. Crowds wear me out, and people I don’t know well wear me out much more quickly than good friends or family. So I do know what you mean, and I can see why the leaving-in-silence thing would be a relief to you, especially when you’re at a new church! 🙂
Good insight! Thanks your awesome. I will admit that extroverts like me forget this. It is hard for people like me who get our energy from people and crowds to understand this. We have had this discussion many times. It helps us all to keep in mind the needs and make up of others, remembering that we are all different. That is what is awesome about God’s creation! We are all different. But at the same time…we are the same! We all need Jesus and His love. You quoting of “Life Together” is right on…learning to live in Jesus together in community. Thanks for all your openness and for putting up with me, your husband, one of the BIGGEST extroverts ever! Love you and thank God for you!