I love Sundays.
I just returned from walking to the public library, about five and one-
half blocks from my house. Not only was the library quiet, with far
fewer people than on a weekday, but the streets were quiet. Few
cars, no other pedestrians. I had that lovely walk under a Carolina
blue sky all to myself, and I found myself thinking about this peace
and quiet which so feeds my spirit. Now, don't get me wrong: I love
people. Came away from worship this morning feeling blessed
and energized, cared for and seen and recognized by so many dear,
dear people there. I had a conversation with someone I had not met
before and several with people who have been in my life for years.
I nearly floated to my car for the drive- the very brief drive- home.
Wonderful. Lovely. Life-affirming.
But my solitary walk this afternoon was exactly what my spirit
needed after the energy-draining experience of this morning. For you
see, as much as I loved every moment...the music and the preaching
and sharing Holy Communion...loved seeing and being with every
person there, this Introvert finds such times truly exhausting, in
every sense of the word. I used to think that I took a nap on Sunday
afternoons because I was tired from teaching and preaching and
leading worship that morning, but I am realizing more and more
that the sense of exhaustion comes simply from the energy-drain
which happens to me in the midst of so many people, even
people I love.
I realize that those of you who are NOT introverts at heart, at
your very depth, simply cannot identify with this...cannot begin
to understand why interacting with groups of people is such a
difficult undertaking for those of us who are. For you, being
with people energizes you, fills you with a sense of well-being,
a kind of "people high". I know and love lots of you. And at a
deep level, I envy you. Oh, I have taught myself how to "be
there" when I am in a group...how to interact and participate
and be fully present. And I'm good at it. Most people would not
begin to guess the very real toll it takes being "on" all the time.
My preferred mode is "one-on-one", so I can truly listen and
relate, can know and be known.
Which is all the more reason that this afternoon's walk was a true
gift. No talking...no interacting...no being anything other than a
solitary person taking a solitary walk, soaking up the peace and
quiet and beauty of the natural world, and so, refreshing my soul.
Is it any wonder that I love Psalm 23? "He restores my soul."
And that kind of restoration can only happen when I am alone-
though not unaccompanied. For there is always a Presence, an
Energy, a Life Force, which walks with me, filling and loving me
back to life so that I can give of myself again, over and over again.
And there's my front door, dressed for autumn and offering a warm
welcome, both to me and to anyone else who comes. You are
welcome, my friend. My refreshed arms are open wide.