I rushed down the stairs, a pack of construction paper in my hands.
“Are you new here?” a woman asked me when I reached the bottom step, “I’ve never seen you before.”
Funny, I knew who she was and how much she was involved in church life. Surely she had seen me, too. I quickly explained that I had been attending for several years.
“Are you sure?” she replied.
I nodded my head.
“Wow, I guess it’s because you’re so quiet.”
Her words poked and prodded me as if I were a strange life form that had just crawled out from under a hymn book.
She was right. I was quiet. My dad was quiet, one of my sisters was quiet, too. I hated it, being an introvert. But, I had lived long enough to know I was wired this way. Extroverts drew energy from social situations. I wilted. It took solitude to bring me back to life.
I opened my mouth to explain all this. But, she just walked away.
I forgot all about the packet of construction paper in my hands. The excitement of “making it happen” in Sunday School drained out of me. Feeling just little smaller and a little more invisible, I trudged to the preschool classroom.
The rest of the morning, I had a hard time concentrating.
“How could she not see me?” I thought while passing out crayons, “I’m not that quiet.”
By the time I got home the brief conversation had destroyed my day. It felt like I was back in high school again. Riding an emotional roller-coaster, wishing I could be just like everyone else.
It’s a good thing that wish never came true.
I would have never become courageous, fighting to be who I was made to be. I would have never learned to focus on developing my strengths instead of my weaknesses. I would have blended into the crowd, an exact replica of everyone else.