News of him spread even more and huge crowds gathered to listen and to be healed from their illnesses. But Jesus would withdraw to deserted places for prayer. Luke 5:15-16
Early in the morning, well before sunrise, Jesus rose and went to a deserted place where he could be alone in prayer. Mark 1:35
After he had sent the crowds away, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray; and when it was evening, he was there alone. Matthew 14:23
I love my family. Don’t get me wrong. I loved spending time with eleven people in that big house in Pennsylvania over Thanksgiving – with all its food and drink and laughter and everyone talking at once and kittens running underfoot.
But I’ve discovered something about myself since Kay moved to campus two years ago. I like my solitude. I need it. And I work better when I have quiet.
I know that’s not the case for everyone. But if you’re like me, how do you deal with it?
Kay’s home with me for part of December. Today’s her birthday and her dad’s here also. Mostly they’ve given me the quiet I need so I can get things done. But once in a while I suddenly wake up to realize that not only are they talking in the room where I’m trying to work but they’re doing it from either side of me!
I grab my hair and massage my scalp and remember that this is all good stuff and I’m glad they’re here and have this time together.
We’re all – each of us – crazy, unique mixes of lively and peaceful, funny and serious, ambitious and relaxed. We each have our own ways.
Last night I got to sit in a big room with about 800 people, most us watching and listening to the others’ gift of music for this season of Advent. I’d been looking forward to that evening for months and it was wonderful. I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. (Thank you, A1 music ministry folks!)
Now that my work's almost done, I wouldn’t trade this day either. A cello is playing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” on the Sonos. Kay is preparing tea. And Mickey's sitting at the table preparing for his next effort to motivate Kay to leave the house and go out and do something with him.
As I said, we’re all different. I’m learning – ok, I’m slow at some things – that this really is fine and good and, if we let it be, even wonderful.
I love being social – and it’s great to have figured out ways I can “fit in.” (It’s probably a good thing I wasn’t popular in my younger days thought. I’d never have finished anything and I left a great many things unfinished as it was.) I accept that while I can go elsewhere and enjoy that moment with a crowd of people, I’m quiet at home. That quiet if good for me.
I’m getting so much better at accepting others’ ways too. Today, I’ll remind myself that while their ways can be fine (for them), my ways are also equally fine (for me). And if my welcome of their intrusion is somewhat imperfect it’s good enough for today.
Introvert or Extrovert, for this day, for this week, be gentle with yourself. Love yourself as you love others.
John Farrier has posted some great graphs about introverts that seem spot on: