Alone and silent in the midst

Eureka!!! I’ve discovered the key to all of life!  I know, I know, it’s Jesus – but underneath that assumed umbrella – Eureka!!! I’ve discovered the key to all of life!  It’s call “ambiversion.”  Before you get all up in arms that I’ve lost all filters and using questionable words trending toward questionable topics, ambiversion is related to personality.  Personality being defined as, “a stable set of preferences and tendencies through which we approach the world.” (Travis Bradberry in an article for Forbes – don’t ask me what I’m doing reading Forbes because I have no idea.)  Anyway, the article talks about both the helpfulness and not so much helpfulness about defining ourselves as either introverts or extroverts.  That like most things, we are all on a continuum and have tendencies toward both and for those toward the middle of the spectrum a guy named Adam Grant who studied this stuff found that, “a vast majority of us are ambiverts, we have both introverted and extroverted tendencies. The direction ambiverts lean toward varies greatly, depending on the situation.”  Same article, same magazine.

Maybe this is not new news to most of you, but it is to me and how much sense does it make??? Of course!  Although I do disagree, I’m sure you’re so not surprised, where Mr. Bradberry says in the article that personality is fixed by early adulthood and says that while many things in our lives change over time, personality isn’t one of them.  I pretty much beg to differ.  Maybe basic personality doesn’t change over time, but I think per my own experience, our tendencies toward more or less introversion or extroversion may, in fact change over time.

Why am I all up into this right now???  I have a kayak.  Need I say more?  It’s a one person kayak.  Most of the time when I take it out, I’m with a friend or more and we paddle around and talk and solve the world’s problems.  My disappointment is their refusal to either hear the complete sermon I might have just given that very morning, OR help me write the one for the next week.  Not sure what the deal is with that, I mean there’s water, there’s people in other boats, a good sermon done loudly might just lead to some impromptu baptisms, but nooooooo, they want to paddle and bob around talking about nature and beauty and sometimes how faith gives a foundation to seek a balance in life of work and leisure, sorrow and joy.  Whatev. 

But last evening I went kayaking by myself and told no one.  Not smart, don’t try this at home.  Someone should know what you’re doing and where you’re going for safety purposes.  Anyway, my spirit simply wanted to be on the water on a gorgeous evening and not need to talk.  Wait a minute, who are you and what have you done with our friend nanette?!? Maybe it was procrastination about sermon and blog writing, maybe it was a break from the continuing cacophony of comments about Simone Biles, and maybe it was simply a need even for a mostly extrovert to engage in introversion for a couple hours.  Here are the requisite pics that we kayakers share to try and capture what it is about it that makes it worth the effort to load up all the gear, wrestle with the boat onto the top of a car or the back of a too big truck, lifejacket, paddles, and of course, snacks!

Alone I would have had every opportunity to loudly proclaim my sermon from last week – there were quite a few folks on the water, and the dog beach was packed, now there would have been an interesting congregation.  But I stayed quiet.  At one point I pulled into a cove to empty the water from the bottom of my boat, don’t ask, sometimes I’m not the most gifted at the kayak entering – now that could be an entertaining Olympic sport.  Sure, we saw those athletes white water rafting through those upright gates, but did they show them getting into their kayaks??? Nooooo.  That should be part of the score too, jes’ sayin’.  So I beached the ‘yak and turned it over to dump out the water and there were three little kids and their mom swimming not too far away.  I heard the littlest boy say to his mom that “that girl has a hole in her boat!”  And the mom said probably not, I was just emptying out the water.  I managed to get back in with less water issue and paddled over to tell him my boat was fine.  He then asked me to watch how good he was at jumping in the water from a partially submerged wooden picnic table for several minutes.  I gave him all tens before paddling away.

As I paddled back to the boat ramp and again ‘rastled the boat and gear back into the truck, I wondered for a moment if it was worth it.  Then I rolled my window down, propped my elbow on the sill and breathed deeply, after a short coughing spell from the smoke of western fires, I yet decided that there is something about being relatively alone and silent in the midst of God’s creation that feeds the spirit in a way that few other experiences can.

Today I’m back to being an extrovert with introverted tendencies, or is it an introvert with extroverted tendencies? Maybe it’s simply being a human, created by God, sharing the world with a bunch of other more complex than easily labeled humans doing the best we can to experience and share God’s goodness.  From one eureka it’s the key to all of life ambivert to all others, blessings for moments of alone and quiet, and moments of loud and relational joy, and in all of it, a minute or maybe two, of grace!