In college, I loved the dining hall. Not just for all the food options, which were actually good, but for the people. I would eat my meal with my closest friends, then spend an hour or so going from table to table to banter with other buddies. First year, one of my friends, Ego Boy, and I used to tour through the dorms from room to room of our mutual friends.
Even in high school I rarely stayed with one group the entire lunch. I'd wander around and chat for a bit with various clusters of people. I seemed to be good friends with key people in different groups. I was never the center of a posse, but comfortable with the clans and cliques that each sat in their designated zones: the stoners on the side of the soccer field, the preppy crowd on the front steps, the geeks on the back steps, the art crowd clustered in Handsome Art Teacher's room.
If I tried to stay with just one group, I felt claustrophobic. It meant being dragged into the minutia of silly feelings. I didn't mind being there for a deep talk or a crisis, but the day to day petty dramas drove me crazy.
I married an introvert. That kind of social skimming drives him CRAZY. He's had to teach me to slow down and not cram so many people into my life. I've helped him to connect with a broader spectrum of friends.
Tonight, I realized that what I love about Facebook is that it allows me to do my quick scan of the dining hall. It sets the stage for deeper conversations when I connect with someone on the phone or in person; yet, in the meantime, lets me feel aware of what's going on. Jrex sees little point in Facebook. I've been trying to get him to join the fun, but I now see why he might not like it. He enjoys connecting deeply with a few people and FB is NOT the forum for that.
As I'm writing this post, I'm realizing how much this is a dynamic tension in our lives. I would call myself a skimmer, a sampler. Once I've solved the puzzle, figured out the dynamic, learned my lessons, I'm ready for a new job, a new city, a new home. I keep my friends and collect more as I go. Jrex wants to stay in one place. He judges me for my 'flightiness', I get impatient with always WAITING and being still and patient. It's intriguing to me to see how deep the skimming tendency is in me.
I know the Lord's been teaching me about rest and about being rooted and established in love. Finding my stability in Him. I've been resisting Him, too! Why do they both want to make me into something so totally different than who I've been all my life? It's hard to transform from being a stream into being a tree.
The bigger question is, why does stillness feel so threatening? Why does one small group make me feel claustrophobic?
Does it go back to my two 'best friends' in 1st through 3rd grade? How Redhead would play me and the other girl off each other OVER and OVER and OVER. Did I vow to never get trapped like that again? Is it from the three other families that were the core of our church growing up? The weird inter-family dramas that were played out among adults and kids. Being part of the 'late', 'dirty', 'disorganized', 'loud', 'poor' family?
Hmm...this post has actually helped me realize a few things. I've been protecting myself from additional battle scars like those two patterns ever since. I suspect the Lord is trying to heal something in me that I never thought needed healing.