At my table, this morning, I sat wedged between two awkward conversations at the tables either side of me. It was a very small cafe and so the conversations were not only very awkward but also very close.
On one side, I had three girls discussing their various food intolerances. That would have been fine. I could have tolerated that. Except that then one made mention of how she was ‘really sick’ when she introduced a certain food back into her diet after a break. Her fascinated table companion then asked what she meant by ‘really sick’. Well, I won’t interrupt your quiet sojourn at your table to fill you in on the details…
I was just beginning to zone out of that conversation and start to focus on catching up on my required course reading ‘How People Change’, when a mother and son arrived to sit at the table next to me. The awkwardness reached a whole new level.
It was all your worst nightmares about generation gaps, teenage self-esteem, needy mothers, frustrated but loving sons, conflict management, awkward silences, Mars and Venus – all wrapped up into one!
I don’t normally have the urge to interrupt people’s conversations at neighbouring tables. Actually, I do. I did manage to resist, but there were so many things I wanted to say. So many books I wanted to recommend. So many questions and conversation starters I wanted to contribute in order to overcome the awkwardness.
Then I remembered that I wasn’t Doctor Phil and that, actually, they hadn’t asked me to pull my table 10 centimetres over and join them for Eggs Benedict.
So I went back to trying to read my book.
It didn’t take me long to reflect that the awkwardness I felt sitting between two tables of awkwardness was because their struggles with mistakes and intolerances and the desire to reach out and connect with the world, were my struggles too.
It felt pretty hopeless sitting there between the tables. I refrained from ordering a second coffee, but I did finish the chapter I was reading my book. The chapter reminded me with startling clarity that the only hope for change – at my table and their’s – was Jesus Christ, one who gives new life. He comes to take up residence in our hearts and gives us the power to become the people he made us to be. He gives us the help to change. We don’t have the strength to do it ourselves – not for much longer than the gap between the delivery of a latte and a toastie, anyway.
We needed his help at all three of our tables!
We also need the encouragement of others. Perhaps I should have lent across and joined in the conversation? Probably not. But it did make me reflect on how we long for feedback and advice and encouragement and connection to help us through this life that can be very awkward at times.
Over the past few months, I’ve been nominated for two blogging awards. As far as I can tell these are not official ‘awards’ but rather friendly ways of connecting bloggers with one another and recommending sites that you’ve enjoyed. For me, it’s not so much the award nomination, as it is knowing that someone has read what I’ve written and found it helpful in some way.
I’m meant to nominate fifteen other blogs for the awards – but I’m afraid I’m still finding my way around this world of blogging. I can say with all honesty that the two women who nominated me have been two of the most inspiring writers I’ve read as I’ve been on this little journey of discovery. I’ve also been introduced to bloggers that they enjoy. Take from the sticks to the bricks and back again as an example. So I’m delighted to mention them here.
Thank you to Chaos Girl for nominating me months ago for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I have missed reading your posts recently. They often hit home right when I needed them. Hope to hear from you soon!
Thank you to The Reluctant Baptist for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award. I have enjoyed your different perspectives on life and faith and, as you know, your words have been quite poignant for me at times.
Though it can feel lonely at times, this blogging business, it has been an unexpected pleasure to read the thoughts of strangers who are both like-minded and different to me. I shall continue to enjoy that.
The reflections of these new blogging friends, and the reflecting I do with Jesus at the centre of my life renewing and changing me, shall travel with me alone, with friends, or wedged between two tables of awkwardness.