Don’t you hate it when you pay someone a teasing compliment and they react in a completely different way from that you had expected?
That happened to me yesterday – I was the reactee rather than the complimenter. In a joking discussion about why I did not want to join in with church activity – it was said that I was ‘independent-minded.’ Unfortunately, and unintentionally on behalf of the speaker, that really rather made me sad. You see, a lot of the independent-mindedness comes from my current life situation. Mostly, that if I want to do something, I have to do it on my own. Holiday? Theatre trip? Breakfast in a nice cafe? Run? Who’s coming with me? Yes, sometimes I have company, but for a lot of the time I plan and carry out these things on my own (although I know, and I value, the friends I do spend time with). And this particular activity would have involved me standing on the sidelines being ignored by people – not my idea of fun.
It is not from choice that I spend so much free time in my own company. I have had to get used to making my own entertainment. It is not a compliment to have this necessary trait highlighted – it’s a bit like telling the blind person how well they can hear. I know – I am being over-sensitive again. Some people would, I am sure, be envious of my solo travel. I have absolutely no qualms about eating in a restaurant, watching a film or a performance on my own, and as for being in church on my own, well, I’m very used to that.
But, you know, this week I have had a lot of time to think and reflect on life, faith, general bewilderment and how much I trust Him Upstairs in all this (if I am brutally honest – it’s about 5% trust, 55% bewilderment and 40% resentment). I’m stuck, having painted myself into a corner; hemmed in by work, PhD, commitments – and I don’t quite know what to do next.