I had a conversation with my dad the other day that made me sad. He recently had an experience where he was trying to be friendly to someone that he doesn’t have a lot in common with. And that person, I guess, brushed him off. Now, my dad might have been a bit sensitive, but I also know he’s a bit insecure when it comes to things like that. It just made me a little sad.
My parents don’t have a lot of friends. They haven’t been involved in a church, really, in years. They go, but they have been the brunt of some church dysfunction so they have a hard time connecting to people when they walk through church doors. They don’t typically have people over to their house – not anything like they used to when we were kids. And they tend to think very little about themselves and don’t think people would really WANT to hang out with them.
The thing is, they are GREAT people. They are fun and sweet and giving. Yes, they are as odd as the next person at times and don’t know what to say sometimes and so conversations can be a little silly. However, they love people wholeheartedly. They will give you the shirt off their back. Their generosity of spirit goes beyond words.
They don’t have a lot of money. They don’t have a fancy house. They don’t have college educations. They don’t know if you pay at the table or take the money to the front at restaurants. But they are among some of the very best people on this earth.
I go into rooms and usually can strike up a conversation pretty easily. I am comfortable in groups and usually am louder than I need to be. Very seldom am I the wallflower.
I wonder how many times I have been wrapped up in my own little world of having conversations with people just like me in the center of the room that I fail to see the people like Don and Sharon who are nervous and feeling displaced and generally feeling uncomfortable in that setting. I wonder how many times I’ve snubbed someone without realizing it. I wonder if I’ve missed out on a great friendship because I didn’t pay attention.
I think I’m going to start hanging out around the walls a little more often. And try to find the folks who may not have the right words, but have the right heart.
Here’s to you, wallflowers. I’ll be seeing you soon.