Friday, July 27, 2007

"I don't like people."

If you've spent any time with me at all, you've probably heard me say it: "I don't like people." It's not really true. I like people enough. I just don't like crowds. I'm sure it's probably a control thing...but few things make me more uncomfortable than being stuck in a crowd. Ride in a car while I'm driving and you'll find that I will do whatever it takes to get in front of everyone. I'll show up either extremely early or extremely late for a concert or other event, just to avoid having to mingle in a crowd. Sometimes, I will choose to not attend an event if it's a surefire bet that there will be a large crowd there. I haven't ever had a panic attack in a crowd, but I've been close a few times! On the rare occasion that my wife can actually convince me to go to places like WalMart or Home Depot, I often quote the scripture, "Yea, tho I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..." as I'm walking into the front doors. And it does feel that way to me. It's hell. But something that's just as uncomfortable for me is what I like to call "forced socialization." Let me explain: Some of the most dreaded five words in the English language, to me anyway, are:
"Let's break into small groups."
UGH! I absolutely hate that! No seriously...hate is not too strong of a word in this instance. If I'm at a conference or an event that calls for breaking into small groups, I will sneak out of the room. My attitude is that if I want to make friends, I'll do it on my own pace...when I choose to...and with whom I choose. I don't need to "pair up with five people you don't know" to learn whatever the teacher has to say. I am perfectly content to hide in my office at work and not talk to a single person face-to-face all day. In fact, I'd love to work from home so I don't really have to socialize at all. I love sites like myspace--they are about as far from really "socializing" as you can get. You make "friends" that you'll probably never meet. And if you decide you don't want to be "friends" anymore, you just delete them. (It's funny, they call these "social networking" sites. But there's really not anything social about it at all. It's about as impersonal as you can get--and I have to admit, there's a huge part of me that absolutely loves that!) So then I start to think: I don't like crowds. I don't like small groups. Hmmm. Maybe I don't like people. So...what's wrong with that? Well, other than the fact that I'm a music artist that relies on people to buy his product and come to his concerts, there's this verse in Scripture that has really convicted me lately.
"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
-John 13:35
The reverend Peter Scholtes put it this way in his famous worship hymn:
"They will know we are christians by our love."
I honestly don't have any idea why I am this way. But it's something I've done since I was a child. I didn't have many friends growing up and I don't remember ever having a friend come over to my house to play. I do remember taking my G.I. Joe into my room and playing for hours...alone...and being perfectly content with it.
Still, I am convicted. I know this is something I need to work on. It will be tough to teach this old dog new tricks, but I am willing to try. Just don't expect any miracles overnight. One step at a time. I'm not gonna go get all warm and fuzzy on ya just yet!


Andy said...

Here's a tip. When the pastor says, "Let's take a few moments to great the people around us," in that inevitable interruption they always stick in the middle of the worship time (why don't they ever disrupt the sermon instead?), whip out your Bible and study it intensely. I saw a lady doing this one time and a guy can over to shake her hand, stood behind her for a moment, and then walked away. I have tried it since—seriously, I have!—and it works like a charm (not that we do "charms" in church, but you get my meaning).

Tim Glenn said...

I am SO going to try that!

Gerilyn said...

Tim!! SO glad you decided to like people today!! :-) I don't normally talk to people on planes, but I am SO GLAD I did today. You are a blessing to me on a few different levels! I hope you made your way to Silver Bay safely. Maybe I'll see you back in the Springs soon---maybe I'll even see you on this blogoshere. hah!! we'll see!

Blessings, Friend!

Tim Glenn said...

Hi Gerilyn!
Yes, I got here safely! It was nice to meet you too. I almost NEVER talk to people on planes! Glad I made an exception this time.
So, you created a blogspot profile? Excellent! You'll be blogging in no time! Welcome to the blogosphere!