Tuesday, May 30, 2017
I recently went back to a gathering of my Paulist community for ordinations and celebrations of ordination anniversaries. Some years ago I had stopped going to these gatherings because I walked into a room of my brother Paulist priests and felt so alone. No one came up to me to talk. I was ignored, so I thought. So I stopped going to these gatherings. Now I don't think it was one of my times when I needed to "Be the center of the Universe." I decided though that if I was going to feel alone or feel ignored, I could do this at home and save a lot of travel expense. Then something changed...in me. Over the subsequent years, I began to go to meetings and not wait for someone to talk to me. I would walk up to someone, perfect strangers, or close to it, and introduce myself. Then I would say something about them, something positive. At first, I felt lame. But the dreaded edge of walking into a room of people and feeling a stranger or outsider, began to lose its sharpness. So when I walked into this recent gathering of a weekend with my Paulist community, I did just that. I had no idea who the three guys were who were going to be ordained. So I found them, introduced myself and thanked them for what they were doing. Others seemed glad to see me, saying they had not seen me in years. I felt I fit into my own skin and the skin of the Paulist community. So if you feel uncomfortable walking into a room of people, instead of going for a drink, walk up to someone and introduce yourself. It is not that you are trying to get a new best friend, but rather to overcome the myth that you are alone, unloved, a social failure, etc. We suffer enough from reality. Why compound it by suffering from what is not real, except in your own head. Do you ever get this crazy thinking, or is it only me?