Collapsing under the weight of the wishing well


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.