Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I Danced With Self-Pity and Then Grew Up

Checkered and I went to a banquet at church a few nights ago. It was different from the typical church banquet because it was formal and lovely. The paparazzi greeted us as we all arrived and that immediately rendered most of us tongue-tied. When I was asked what I most appreciated about my church volunteer activities, all I could think to say was that I was glad I wasn't doing anything at the church at this time. It was a rough start.

We finally made our way to main room and were faced with many seating options. It was wonderfully comfortable to know that we could have sat at any of those tables and been welcomed by the others there. Then, after spending several minutes pondering our choice of table, we were told that we had assigned seating (because Checkered was in a skit and needed to be in a specific location.)

Our dinner companions for the evening were: two very quiet couples of a different generation than ours. We know each of those couples nominally - that's all. The other couple were absolute strangers to us. I was okay with our seats until I looked over at the next table.

At that table were five couples. Younger, beautiful and most all inter-related in some way or another to each other. There was such a sense of intimacy there, such a sense of belonging to each other, such a joy at their togetherness, that I was immediately filled with jealousy. Here I sat with people to whom I was not connected in any way. Here I sat with quiet people. Here I sat wishing I were at that other table. I was flirting like crazy with Self-Pity.

The evening progressed. The food was delicious. The entertainment was truly fun. But I kept looking over at that table and feeling a little cheated as they laughed and laughed and laughed.

At our table I was determined to not sit in silence, so we chatted and asked questions, and the more we did that, the more the other couples opened up. We learned how each of the couples met, learned about their families and jobs, and we shared some genuine laughter. But then Self-Pity would ask and I would agree to another spin around the dance floor with him. Then I would return to the conversation and decide all over again that things were okay. Then Self-Pity would stop by again...well, you can see the picture by now.

By the end of the evening as we all worked together to break down the banquet accoutrements and set up for the next morning's service, I was having a lovely time.

And because I love minutia, I analyzed repeatedly what had transpired over the course of the evening.

I am very happy that we left that banquet knowing more people than we knew going in. That would not have happened at that other table. I am very happy that I had to get beyond my own insecurities, and I deeply regret the dance time I gave to Self-Pity.

I guess I grew up a little, and that's a good thing. Right?

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