I have long admired those quiet people that can easily keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves. How amazing it would be to think atleast twice as much as I speak! But alas, although I have grown in grace and hopefully wisdom over the years, the weakness for expressing my opinions and experiences still lingers on.
Just call me “the Icebreaker”. When there is tension in a room of 30 people or less I will usually be the one to crack a joke. If there is liberty to add one’s two cents to a discussion I often have fifty cents or more to offer if given the time.
At times this lack of inhibition has been a blessing in uncomfortable situations. Some would say I have never met a stranger because I can strike up a conversation with just about anyone. It makes every line we wait in so much easier to tolerate. I have met some really amazing people over the years just by striking up conversations with people I’ve never met before.
One day in our local Wal Mart, I met a man who claimed to have been a friend to Jim Henson and showed me on his license that his middle name was Kermit. I continued the conversation apprehensively, at the time, but later on some other unusual claims he had made, of having patents on a few inventions, panned out.
On my way home from my last visit to the Dominican Republic I met this really pleasant older lady at the airport. We shared pleasantries in my broken Spanish. After parting ways I told my husband about our conversation. At the mention of her name my husband lit up. Her last name was Leon, her family owns many banks in the DR and thus is quite rich and well known. So it pays to be friendly but not always do my new encounters leave me with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.
In college I once sat down next to a middle aged woman in a huge church auditorium. Trying to break the ice, I nodded to the stage decorated with dozens of Christmas trees and said, “Wow they sure got a little tinsel happy on the trees this year.”
With a look of indignation the stranger retorted, “I happen to be the head of the decorating committee.” In seconds I went from feeling my full stature of five foot nine to desiring the height a a mere six inches. If I recall, I excused myself and found a different seating arrangement.
Then we change settings to a stranger’s home. This time I had come by way of a friend. Ten people or so sat around a comfy living room having a Bible study. The discussion opened up about the interpretation of a certain verse. My “two cents worth” included how this verse highlighted fault in a particular religious denomination. It was then brought painfully to my attention that the study we were attending happened to be of that religious affiliation. The pressure of having offended the majority of people in the room, all at the same time , overcame me. I asked where I might find the restroom from which I never returned.
More recently, I had just met another mom while watching my children play at a local restaurant’s play place. The topic of children’s names and their meanings had come up as a result of my expectant state. She had already shared her two sons’ names with me so I felt confident about sharing my negative opinion about a popular boys name. She felt compelled to tell me that that particular name was her son’s middle name. Can we say AWKWARD!
So the moral of the story is: pray that I can stay out of tongue trouble 🙂 Oh and maybe you could learn from my mistakes and try listening and thinking more than you speak. If you already do, we should hang out. I could use the good influence 🙂