arriving alone 

One of the more difficult parts of Single life for me is arriving somewhere alone.

I hate it.

There’s something quite terrifying about those first few moments when I don’t yet know where I am going to connect or fit in. Arriving alone is a vulnerable, breath-holding experience.

There was one time when I arrived at an event that was already underway. I walked around the room and there were multiple conversations happening and none of them broke from their interactions to connect with me. So I just walked back out again! It was an intensely dramatic and reactive thing to do. But I just didn’t feel emotionally strong enough to take any further ‘rejection’, so I bravely ran away.

Arriving alone makes me feel very exposed. Even as a socially competent person, I feel a little adrift without the ‘fallback’ of a partner to talk to when other options aren’t available – or even to stand awkwardly beside while they are in a conversation.

I don’t remember feeling this way when I had a partner and attended events on my own. I suspect that was because it wasn’t an always thing and I was less self-protective or sensitive. Or perhaps now the contrast of the two experiences (arriving together or alone) makes the alone feelings more pronounced, I’m not sure.

Arriving with others sets up a different posture of expectation and confidence that changes events markedly. The prospect of a party, a church service, a family gathering and all manner of events or get-togethers, is dramatically altered by the knowledge that those awkward arrival moments will be somewhat alleviated by the company.

An invitation to drive together, meet out the front or save a seat for someone arriving alone can go a long way.

It may seem like a trivial thing, but I often think that if I – in my extroverted, outgoing-ness – can feel this so acutely that I’ve elected to stay home or arrive extra late … I can’t imagine how others might deal with these feelings.

What about you? Or what about the Singles in your world? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. 

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“12 thoughts of Christmas” #7: Party Time!

Yesterday was my sister-in-law’s birthday so family and friends had gathered at her house to celebrate with her. A friend made a stack of macarons and stuck some candles in a few of them. We sang, we hip hip’ed and then she blew out the candles. Then her 1 year old daughter wanted a turn, so they were re-lit and she blew them out. Then her 3 year old wanted in on the action, so they were re-lit and she blew them out. Of course, the cousins had to have a turn … as did all the other children that were gathered. By the end of lighting, blowing out and re-lighting there was hardly anything left of the candles and we were finally able to get into the macarons!!

You’ve all no doubt been there before. You’ve scraped the wax (& a little bit of spit) off a cake after some enthusiastic blows! You’ve had the party hats and balloons, wacked the piñata, played pass the parcel, eaten a few footy franks and the odd slice of fairy bread. We do birthday parties! From the quiet family gathering to the themed extravaganza; the BIG numbers that need extra acknowledgement to the years that slip by relatively unheralded (or mentioned out loud); the McDonald’s hosted to the ‘hostess-with-the-mostess’ home party … all sorts, sizes and locations. Birthdays get celebrated well in most households and families.

So, given that Christmas is essentially Jesus’ birthday party, what part does that play in your Christmas gatherings and traditions? Does He get a mention Christmas day or does He get lost under the tinsel and mountains of discarded gift wrap? How do you acknowledge Him on the actual day?

I’ve heard of families that have a birthday cake for Jesus as part of their Christmas lunch. Others read the Christmas story together before they open their gifts. One family reveals baby Jesus and adds Him to the nativity scene. Some will honour Him in their prayers of thanks when the family gathers around the meal. I recently heard a child excitedly noting that Jesus’ birthday is one of the only birthdays you ever get to celebrate where you GET presents as well as GIVE them – that’s how generous and kind Jesus is!

What about you? What do you do? How do you include Jesus in His special day? Share some ideas below.