I think most of us have done it at one time or another.
We’re out and about, and we happen to unexpectedly spot someone nearby, with whom we are acquainted, but eye contact has not yet been made. However, for whatever reason (there can be numerous reasons), we don’t want to engage in any type of interaction with that person, so we look the other direction and pretend we never saw them, hoping they don’t see us too.
I recall one of the instances I did this…I was at church a couple years ago, I was acquainted with someone who was going through a significantly difficult time, and because I was at a total loss as to what to say to her in her grief, I avoided her altogether. I wanted to steer clear of any potential awkwardness that might ensue if I tried to converse. I believed I was protecting both of us.
As I was out and about with my mom today, it suddenly struck me that I’m that person. I am the person who is going through a significantly difficult time and people might want to avoid talking to me because they don’t know what to say. People are probably dodging me.
That’s okay. If you’re like me and feel uncoordinated when trying to relate with people in significant pain, I completely understand.
On the other hand, it should be noted that half the time, now that I am on the “other side”, I don’t know what to say either. It is awkward. It is challenging. But I’ve decided that I want to be alright with that.
I am willing to stumble through the difficulties of relating during this season of grief, because I want to connect with people. We can bumble through the awkwardness together-that, in and of itself, has value.