January 7, 2013

house of cards

I've been hiding in a house made of cards.

I've mentioned before, I believe, how much I dread fellowship meals:  crowds are not my thing.  Yesterday we had another one at church.  We stayed; there was a meeting afterward that we wanted to be part of.  And things went fine, mostly, until the food was finished and I started to look around .... at the people talking, laughing, enjoying each other's company ...

... and all I could think was "no one's talking to me."

I'm ashamed, of course.  So "poor me" I blush to write it.  But since I know I'm not the only one, I take a risk and publish my awkwardness for both of you - the ones who feel it, too, and the ones who can't imagine.

A friend and I were talking recently about high school, and how lonely it was for us, and how startled we've been, sometimes, to find out that others were lonely, too - even some we thought so self-assured.  We all hide, maybe.  At the fellowship meal, my inner ache tells me I'm unwanted, superfluous, unseen.  Look at all the others, talking to each other, laughing, sought-out.  And on the periphery (where I usually choose to sit), alone stand I.

So many things you could say to me, to convince me that I'm wrong.  I've heard it all.  It does not penetrate my armor of alone-ness.

But yesterday, a gift:

At the meeting (again sitting at the fringes), I looked at all the heads in front of me, and like Paul's light on the road to Damascus, epiphany struck:  this is my family.  These are my people, and they love me.  Hardly a soul there that hasn't said a kind word to me at one time or another, exchanged a smile.  They are for me.  We are one.

As a group, they overwhelm me to the point of intimidation, yes; but one by one - I love them, too.

Fear fled, as the house of cards crumbled.

I am safe.  I am loved.

This is my Body.

[now, let's see if I can remember that at next month's fellowship meal....]

"so in Christ we who are many form one body,
and each member belongs to all the others."
Romans 12:5


  1. I found your blog through some of the comments on Momastery and stumbled onto this post. I've had this experience so many times in my life! Through a series of unrelated choices I had to face some of this fear/discomfort, and I have learned that so many people - even the ones who look assured and at peace - have insecurities, too. We all want the same thing - to connect, to be seen and accepted. Glad you found a place of comfort at this fellowship meal, and I hope you're able to find it again at the next one!

    1. Thank you, Heidi. And you're right about what we all want. The rewarding thing is that when I admit my fears, or when I reach out to someone else, then both our eyes are opened to how much we are the same. Bless you for connecting, here!


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