Tuesday, June 22, 2010


On Paul's orientation day at college, we happened to be chatting in the cafeteria with one of the women on staff. Turned out Patti was the school counselor, and she was missing a family wedding in LaCrosse because Freshman Orientation is something she just could not miss. I was driving right past LaCrosse on my way home, so Patti asked if she could have a ride. It was such a pleasant ride to chat with her and get to know her. And because my car was going in that direction (and she was not shy to ask for a ride) she could attend the reception with her family.

Last week at symposium, Patti's son-in-law and I were talking. I mentioned this story and how much it had impressed me and how friendly she was. David said that, yes, his wife was just like her mom: they both will ask things that other people might be afraid to ask, but it's so refreshing that they don't pussy-foot around.

The next day, a few of us from church were munching on our brown-bag lunches while all the other symposium attendees went out to restaurants. We were talking and eating and laughing when Craig walked into the room and approached our table. He asked, "Mind if I join you?" knowing that of course we wouldn't mind. I don't know his family as well as I'd like to (they're really nice!), so it was super to have him with us.

The next day, somebody needed a ride back to the hotel after the barbecue at the park. As we drove him there, he asked where we live. "Just a couple of miles from church." John asked, "Then what are you doing coming all the way over here to drive me back to the hotel? I thought this would be on your way." No, it wasn't on our way. But there was nobody left at the park going in that direction, so we took him. It was no big deal; it was a pleasant chance to visit with him a bit more.

So, here's the thing:
Why am I so afraid of "imposing"? I don't see any of these situations as impositions. Not at all. I'm happy to have other people join the gang! But when I'm the one wanting to approach a group of people eating lunch, or when I'm the one asking for a favor, I feel like a big fat wart or leech. This is dumb. If I was delighted to be with Patti and Craig and John in these stories from last week, then mightn't other people have the same sort of delights?


  1. I don't know. It looks different depending on whether you're the one "imposing" or being "imposed" upon.

    A few years ago I was holding a baby (what a shock) and she spit up on my sleeve (also shocking). Her mother rushed over and took her. At the time I thought she didn't want some kid holding her baby if the baby was spitting up, but now it's rather obvious she was embarrassed that my sleeve now rather stank.
    I think this is related... :)

  2. Of course it's related! No biggie to me if a kid pees or urps on me & my shirt. But, yeah, I bet the mom is going to be mortified if Baby urps on somebody else.

  3. And if she happens to see this and feels bad, I honestly didn't mind. That's the, uh, risk of holding a baby. She's still quite adorable.

  4. I don't know why it is either, Susan, but I feel the same way. I am always happy to do favors for people, but I am almost completely incapable of asking.