One of the things I’ve noticed about Chris, for as long as we’ve been married, is that she can strike up a conversation with anyone. It doesn’t make any difference if we’re 500 miles from home in a shopping mall we’ve never visited. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve sat in the car after church for what seems like forever while she talks weather with what seems like everyone at church. Okay, I know you’re saying that’s the fellowshipping that’s supposed to happen. Well, there’s fellowshipping and then there’s fellowshipping. I’ll let you guess the brand a died-in the-wool introvert like me prefers. When I was younger, the wait was troubling to say the least. I don’t think what I’m saying here is a surprise to my better half. I’m admitting it on this page, because I’m now far less bothered than in my younger years. I now wait while enjoying the time with my iPhone, listening to SiriusXM Smooth Jazz or just closing my eyes and meditating on the silence. As the saying goes, it’s all good.
Guess what, I’ve noticed something about myself in recent months; I’m becoming my wife. Not to the fullest, but my time spent in the cashier’s line at the Walmart Super Center is being consumed more by talking to strangers. I’ve noticed something about certain people. Some people emit a signal that indicates it’s okay to talk to me. I’m not sure what it is that lets me know it’s okay to say something. Maybe it’s the smile on their face when you look at them, the eye contact that connects with you, or the just plain old hello, or where did you get that?
Lately, I’ve been experimenting with stepping outside of my introverted cage and striking up conversations with total strangers. If you know me, of course, I know you probably don’t, that’s stretching it for me. Chris knows me, and if I were to get a quote from her right now, she would attest to the accuracy of my self-characterization.
One thing seems universal with folks who signal an interest in brief social encounters; they want to share a smidgen of themselves for the few minutes you have with each other. They want to talk about their cat, dog, children, grandchildren, even the weather. They want to certify for themselves that they are just like you in some way. And you know, gender, ethnicity, social strata often don’t matter. These brief social encounters are what I’m now calling micro-engagements. I’ve noticed something else about them, too, they make you feel enriched in some way. I can’t explain them very well, because they are more soul-stirring than cerebral. I don’t walk away any more intelligent than before the encounter, but the encounter usually leaves an imprint. And I usually come home and mention it to Chris. I think this is just one more sign of me coming more into my tag line, Old and Blessed.
The longer you roam around on this planet, while remaining open to all it has to offer, the greater your chances for Godly evolution.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.