Engage…

rod-n-tiff-winter-2017 / TiffanyAOlson.com

 

 

Have you ever been at the grocery store or the mall or anywhere and saw someone you knew but felt so overwhelmed by your life or circumstances you quickly ducked or walked away? The desire is not to be seen so you would not have to talk about your life… or theirs. Sooo hoping that I am not the only one in this category. How many times have I seen someone in public who could have used an encouraging word or even just a smile but I was so consumed with myself and my issues that I turned and went the other way? Too many to count. To be fair when life is continually kicking you in the face you get to a point where you don’t know what to say to others and you are terrified about the questions they are going to ask you. I am not great at being evasive and I have little to no ability to tell someone everything is going fine when it’s not. I have discovered that I have a two question limit. I can beat around the bush for two questions but once the third pressing question comes around I run out of pleasantries and the truth gets vomited all over the asker.

When I was going through chemo and had no hair my mom had gotten me this great wig. This wig is so great that people stopped me everywhere I went telling me how great my hair looked. I’m not kidding I won more attention wearing that wig than I have ever received in my whole life. (I am wearing the wig in my blog photo) But here’s the deal, no one ever stopped at saying, “I love your hair!” They kept going… “No seriously, I love your hair!” “Where do you get it done?” “How do you make it look so great?” In the beginning, when I still wasn’t feeling great I would say thank you a few times. By the third question, however, I would just tell them that I had cancer and it was a wig. A smarter person could have kept the charade going and relished in all the compliments. But the reality is I am just not that smart and I had no energy to fake it beyond a few questions. When I was feeling better and a bit more like myself, at the third question I would just take the wig off and tell them for $200 they could go buy themselves the same hair. Nice, huh? You can imagine how uncomfortable people felt and the blank stares I received after these encounters.

The other night Mr. Wonderful and I ran into some old friends, Tim and Jessica, in Eugene. We were in town because I had developed an infection from my most recent surgery and I was getting it checked. When we began chatting with our friends (Tim’s a pastor and I used to work for him) he began asking me how I was doing, I said fine. He said, “No really,  how are you doing? I smiled and said, “I’m good!” He then looked at me and said, “The look you are giving me says, stop asking me questions, I don’t want to talk about it.” It was then that I blurted out, “Well I have an infection and the Dr. is worried about it, but it’s Christmas and we are going to grab a drink and go watch a movie and pretend that everything is fine.” Tim laughed and said, “That’s what everyone does at Christmas!” (ps. the infection cleared after antibiotics (-: ) The restaurant was crowded,  Tim and Jessica would have never known I was there had I not walked up to their table. But I made the effort, made it through the awkward moment and ended up having a good laugh.

I am reading a book by Michele Cushatt, called I Am, A 60 Day Journey To Knowing Who You Are Because Of Who He Is, in it, she points out that Jesus never shied away from the hurting or the afflicted. He never thought to himself that their burdens were too big to add to his own. Instead, he came over for dinner and spent a significant amount of time with the lost and the lonely and brought peace and restoration to their lives.

The same is true for you,  you know. Regardless of your bruised and battered soul, Jesus welcomes you without condition.

Come.

Are you weary? Weighed down by  your life’s story? Overwhelmed by unknowns? Come. We’ll carry it together.

This world is not an easy one to weather. We will not always be able to carry another’s burdens along with our own. But when we find our rest in Jesus first, we’ll have far more strength to welcome the Dianes (friends) we meet like He does.

I’m glad I did not shy away from saying hello to Tim and Jessica. They are much better at holding life’s challenges closer to the vest than I am but it was great to laugh with some old friends in the middle of a room full of strangers on a hard day.

Step out and say hello to fellow weary travelers that you see in the grocery store. It’s hard but in the end, both of you will feel a little less alone.

 

Have a great day my friends!

 

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Comments

  1. candy adams says:

    i remember john preaching a sermon about not see people as the landscape (like checkers at the grocery store) but real people that might need a word of encouragement, and to take the time to notice and love people.

    • It’s sad that I at times have to force myself to do this. Not because I don’t care or love the people in my life but rather I can’t see past myself enough to step into their world. I’m working on it because I want to be better at loving with actions and not just words.❤️

  2. Jayna graham says:

    This gave me a great chuckle today. I think I have a 2-question limit too.

  3. OH MAN!!! I am SO this! right with you….duck and run! but remembering our Pastor John’s words that Candy referred to….and an agreement I made with Jesus awhile back….I really work at “SEEING” people. I mean really see them! Some days I rock at it…some days I totally suck at it! But each day offers new opportunities!! I LOVE your posts, Tiff!!!! LOVE THEM!!!!! OOYBF(oneofyourbiggestfans) 🙂

  4. I am the opposite!! People “duck away” from me!! I seek people out no matter how hard I think it might be…..but I’M the one they duck from! My ❤️ immensely loves people & cares for them…..& I find myself in trouble ALLlll the time by family & friends who are “waiting” on me & I’ve stopped to hug & talk to someone!!! I’m never, ever, ever disappointed by doing so, even when it’s been with strangers!!

    • Ok sweet Brenda, we need to hang out more so I can learn to be a little less selfish and do a better job at putting others needs before my own. For the record I would never duck from you. You are too sweet and bubbly and always have something nice to say.♥

  5. Judy Gederos says:

    So good seeing you and hugging at the winefest. You are an amazing woman!! God Bless you and yoursTiffany!! ♥♥♥

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