I am a definite introvert. My Myers Briggs indicator barely has a blip of extroversion. So how does an introvert live in community? By learning to pick your interactions, and being very aware that you need time apart. At first I felt completely overwhelmed and drained, there was always someone somewhere. I physically felt as if I was suffocating from the constant presence of people. Granted they were people that I really liked, but they were always there. So I had to learn the importance of time apart from others, but more significantly I had to learn where I might could go to be away from people.
First, I don’t always attend our twice daily services. Initally, my goal was to attend all the services, but I found that was a significant contributor to my feeling exhausted and drained. And occasionally it felt like work, as if it were part of my responsibility to create worshipful moments. But at the same time, I loose something when i don’t attend and participate in worship, so i pick carefully when to attend. The morning service is one of the most significant acts of worship as it sends us out into our day. The Tuesday evening service, although one of my all time favorites, is the healing service and it can be very draining. Our Sunday evening service is a quiet service of meditation, and I always skip that because I can do that alone.
Second, I have located and sought out places that I can disappear to where I am working. it may be the dry store cupboard, it may be the drying room, or even just the back stair case (which someone who has been here five times asked There’s a back staircase?). But learning that you need a little seclusion and time alone is important, just as important as locating the spaces to be alone. I also often go on walks along the beaches, but it is difficult to do that alone as others are always invited. What I have done is learn who will go with me, because they are in search of quiet time as well, so we end up on a beach or rocky hill, together, but separate.
I suppose the lesson here is that all of our lives can use a little recharging time, time when we are actually STILL and could listen for the voice of God. The thin place begins at awareness and grows in the space.
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