It is January 2016. This seems like the perfect place to start. Let's just say this is a work in progress. The goal is to live graciously. We will talk more about what that means and how we are trying to achieve that.
There are many factors that have led me to this place...46 1/2 years old and really having no solid concept of how to graciously have guests in my home, other than maybe family, and familiarity often leads to a less-than-gracious atmosphere in my home, how to properly carry myself in public, how to feel comfortable in my own skin so that I can carry that grace to others, be a light to others, if only my own children.
Encountering people is awkward. I once ran into a new neighbor in the checkout lane in Target. My girls told me that the woman standing behind us was my neighbor--I actually did not know.
"I hear we are neighbors," I said.
She said, "Oh, yeah, you moved into one of the houses at the end of the street--which one?"
I couldn't remember the name of the family and stammered a bit, then between us, we came up with the name.
"Yes," I said.
"Funny," she said.
Interrupted by check-out, neither one of us actually introduced ourselves.
I would have felt totally awkward and inept, except that I realized that she was equally so (is that justified?). I later said to my husband, "This is what happens when two socially unskilled people run into each other." Pathetic.
Even when I get together with friends, I realize I should have said this, or offered that, or just shut my mouth a whole lot more. I am fast to want to share my story of how I relate to something someone else said without just listening to them and hearing them, or even if I am listening and hearing, probably making it appear that I really am not.
We are all so often separated from each other. It is even easy to be a part of a church community and simply go to Mass and leave without really connecting with anyone else around us. This is not a good way to live. I often consider what happens if we face a crisis, with our nearest family an hour and a half a way and not being connected with friends or neighbors. It is a process, figuring out how to make community, figuring out how to feel comfortable reaching out to others. It is not something that I have been taught to do. Even in college, my circles were small. It is so easy to keep them that way. I want to talk about creating a home and a community for my family and those around me. Because in so many ways, I don't know how to do that, this is a living experiment, of sorts, but I want to share it with others, because, I suspect, there are more people out there like me, who wish to find a way to connect to the world around them and create a fuller, richer life for their family.