I think every aspect of who I am has been exacerbated by deep grief. The good things and the not so good.
I’m definitely an introvert. When I say this, it seems to surprise some people. Mainly the people I know just professionally. I worked in a corporate environment for more than 30 years before retiring in 2019. Among other things, I did customer training on business support systems. I made executive presentations. I led diverse teams that developed and supported services for corporate clients. I became used to getting up in front of large groups and networking at business events.
But, my preference is small group or one-on-one conversations. I like in-depth discussions, hearty debate, philosophical discourse. I like people who can parse a sentence. I’m a word nerd.
Yet, I’m not a phone talker. Or, not like I used to be. I like to text. Maybe because I like to write. And texting gives me the ability to think about what I want to say and to edit what I type before I hit that little blue arrow. Still, texting has its downfalls. You can’t hear voice inflections like you can on the phone. I am very attuned to inflection and nuance. Perhaps too much so. Because sometimes someone’s voice is strained or distracted because she is bending over to get a casserole out of the oven or texting her husband to pick up the dry cleaning. Not because she is bored or upset with me.
So what I really like is face to face conversation. A friend and I recently logged 20,000 steps on one walk because we were talking and didn’t want to stop. A good in-person conversation is one of life’s best joys.
All this rambling is leading up to some point, I promise.
While I love deep discussion with like-minded friends, and am always up for a friendly debate over opposing views, my need to be prepared has grown. I don’t like surprises.
An out-of-the-blue “hey, can you talk?” or an unexpected phone call immediately puts me into “what’s wrong?” mode. Usually I don’t answer the phone even when I know who it is (except for my husband or daughter). I wait for the follow-up voicemail or text before calling back. My heartbeat and brain need to calm down so I can prep for the conversation.
When you have been knocked off your perch. When you have had the rug snatched out from under you. When you have picked up the phone at the office on a bright April Tuesday to hear your daughter is dead . . .well . . . you lose control. Of your emotions. Of your strength. Of your sense of control.
Yes, I know the feeling that I am in control is a façade. I try SO hard to turn my palms upward and give – no, acknowledge – God’s control. And, still I pray frequently that He will forgive me when I try to take back what I have put in His hands.
I’m a mess. It’s true. I’m trying to get it under control.