Whenever I tried to start a conversation, she was distant, aloof and cold. I couldn’t figure out what I might have done to deserve to be treated in such a condescending way. It became a personal challenge to see if I could squeeze even the slightest smile out of her. I started to feel like a kid working hard to gain adult approval and it became exhausting. I gave up.
It’s interesting, when we let go of things, to watch how solutions surface. I don’t know why I have a hard time remembering God isn’t rude and doesn’t butt in, but waits his turn with things.
The woman who didn’t like me and I ended up sitting next to each other at a party. I knew no matter what I said or did she would snip or scow, so I chose to be quiet. Me being quiet is such an unusual thing, when it happens, Jim Brawner thinks I’m sick.
The awkward silence became deafening, so I casually asked what she was doing for the holidays. I wasn’t ready for what came next. Quietly, in great detail, she emptied her heart. She didn’t even answer my question, but told me ugly, sad things about her life. Thirty minutes later she said, “I’m sorry I haven’t been very nice. It’s not your fault, but it’s intimidating because you have such a normal life. I suppose I’m mad at you for that, so I close up like a turtle in defense.”
That made me laugh. Normal? Really, what’s normal? I suppose that was meant as a compliment in an odd sort of way.
That whole situation made me consider this: How many people, who are assumed to be mean, crotchety, and rude, are only being protective? I think about a turtle without it’s shell and how vulnerable it would be. That’s most likely how they must feel.
I wish I could say that woman from years ago and I went on to become tight friends. We didn’t. What we did have was a quiet, unspoken understanding.