Sunday, June 26, 2016

Becoming a People Person

June 26, 2016

I may be a slow learner, but eventually even I get the message. By nature I am pretty much an introvert. People who have known me professionally sometimes have a hard time believing that because my job for years required me to spend a lot of time with people. The extrovert thrives on that; for me, a day with people was exhausting, often requiring some significant time spent alone to recharge my emotional and spiritual batteries. Truth be known, left to myself, I could easily become a hermit.

God be praised, he did not leave me alone. More than 46 years ago he gave me Linda, who LOVES being with people. And on those rare occasions when she is "peopled out," she will push through, with one of her favorite sayings: "It's the right thing to do." I don't usually appreciate it at the time, but her people radar coupled with her instinct for doing the right thing has enriched my life immeasurably.

When I was a boy, one of the big events of the year was the annual boat show in the Rochester War Memorial. Coming from a long line of worm-drowners, I would join my older brother, my dad, and both grandfathers for the trek downtown to look over all the various boats, fishing gear, scuba demonstrations, and the like. When I was twelve, I happened to be watching a swashbuckling movie on TV when dad intoned, "It's time to go." I begged for a little more time, because a big battle was about to unfold on the screen. "You have to choose," dad said, and I chose to finish the movie. It came to an unexpected sudden end just as the car with dad, my brother, and my grandfathers pulled out of the driveway. That following winter, my maternal grandfather died, and I never got to go to another boat show with him. I chose foolishly, and sadly, continued that pattern for years. Time and time again, I've missed out on experiences, celebrations, and life because I was "too tired," or too preoccupied with my own agenda. Far too often, Linda would come home telling what happened, and I would feel the twinge of regret for having missed something that will never come around again.

Today began with breakfast at Matt and Jeanine's along with Bob and Bri who are up visiting from Texas. Then worship in the park followed by two graduation parties and a gathering with friends from Georgia who were visiting family and requested that we stop by to see them. We've been gone from the house from 8:30 this morning till nearly 8:30 tonight; non-stop people. But here's what I've learned: I have no regrets. The day was full, but tonight as I reflect upon it, so is my heart. I am grateful for God's patience with this slow learner, and for my wife who has been his chief instructor for 46 years.

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