This is actually something I learned Sunday, but I have been thinking about it and unpacking it ever since.
Those of you who know me personally know that I am a shy person. It takes me a while to feel comfortable talking with people I meet. However, in some circumstances, like a summer camp or a retreat, I feel quite free even though I’m surrounded by strangers. In everyday life, I sometimes find it difficult to carry on a conversation or even express myself. I have been known to be so shy in the past that I would go searching for a restroom rather than ask a homeowner or employee where to find it. Because I’m so shy, I have found it especially difficult to make new friends in adulthood.
This weekend I went on a retreat with the Dominican sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. It was their annual “Non-Discernment Retreat” (what they call their Mom’s Retreat). When I was given time to share, I mentioned about B’s unemployment and also about my desire to be parents. Several women wanted to talk to me personally about my concerns, which made me feel really good. They were telling me about similar struggles they have faced, and I knew that I was not alone.
One woman said something that particularly struck me. She asked if I had a good network of friends back in my city or at my parish. When I said I really didn’t, because I was so shy, she said
If you talk to someone long enough, you will find that you have something in common.
I think she’s right. Now, can I apply that? What do I talk to someone about? I am open to growth. I just have to pretend that I am in a retreat or summer camp situation, I guess. And I have to pray.