Wear my shoes and keep dancing

I heard someone say once, “I don’t know if you’ve walked in my shoes or if I’ve walked in yours, but I know how those shoes feel.”
Continuing my rant on the extrovert, I have learned recently what I should have known years ago. I don’t apologize; I’ve walked in the shoes God put on my feet. I’ve traipsed through mud, tall grass and deep waters in them, been lost, found and almost drowned. These shoes, made for walking, are not always comfortable. I’ve outgrown several pairs, worn them out and even painted them a different color to match my mood.
When we recognize the same style of shoes on someone else, we start seeing things about us. We will embrace that person and love what they do. Sometimes we cringe to think that we do the same thing, especially when they rub people the wrong way.
One night a week, I participate in a small prayer group, which meets for one hour via video conference. The leader, an extrovert, started the group. I was invited to join with three couples. They have sons working together on a special project. I am the grandmother of one of the boys. My grandson requested I become a part with his parents. I agreed and was thrilled he wanted me to share his experience.
Occasionally, I give my two cents, but I try very hard to keep myself tethered. With a little encouragement, I get excited and start tapping my toe to the music. Ready to take over.
When I met the leader online, it was an immediate love affair. The reason I liked her so much is because I saw myself in her. She has similar qualities that I possess. Some things she does are glaring to me, but I have given her grace because I know how much I need grace.
An example, she gets caught up in the moment and doesn’t follow due process. Instead of waiting until everyone states their opinion, she gets excited and makes decisions without the rest of the group. Then she comes wearing her dance shoes and dances around us trying to explain why she did it. She wears herself out convincing us it was good for the group.
She still needs our approval because she didn’t wait to ask anyone what they thought. She makes sure she fills her dance card. She doesn’t want anyone to dislike her. She needs the group’s approval in order to function.
I’ve been there so many times that it’s not even funny. It would have been easier for her to stop the music and move with the group. They would’ve gone along with her, especially when she says, “God told me we should do this.” Are they, especially the introverts, going to argue with her and God? I don’t think so. I recognize the tune.
The things she comes up with are usually very creative and good. She is passionate in what she’s doing and not afraid to take charge. I know what she’s doing. I’ve danced to that music so many times.
Introverts sit in the group quietly and politely. They interject ideas when it’s appropriate. They don’t show the pain when others step on their feet. They have ideas, but they keep them to themselves. They are perceived as wallflowers and are waiting for their turn to be asked. No one asked them. So, they are comfortable sitting in the corner until the music is over. They vow not to go to another dance with that person, but then they do.
She felt she might be taking over. No, why would she? Ha. So she asked that we bring a music video and share it with the group. I found a video that opened heaven for me. The spirit was strong and the words were dynamic. They were meaningful and powerful. Before I shared the music, I prefixed that I was of a different generation, but I found this music was earth-shaking to me and transcended generational lines.
When the video was played the next Monday night, the other members, being introverts, quietly took it in and said later in private they enjoyed it. They live within themselves and walk out their faith quietly. No fanfare.
But my new friend, my alter ego, my other self, couldn’t get excited. She tried, but it fell flat. She made comments about how they dressed funny and their hairdos. She was too caught up in their appearances to see the heart. Many extroverts gauge the height of a person’s character and spiritual well-being by the 5-inch stilettos on their feet.
Extroverts live outside of themselves. Their excitement comes from their surroundings and their approval comes from other people. Their perceived values rise and fall according to who understands them and who doesn’t. I know I have felt the rub many times. I have corns and blisters to prove it, but I have learned to put another bandage on my hurting toes and keep dancing.
I have learned that the extrovert’s enthusiasm is greater when she initiates the idea. She doesn’t have the same enthusiasm when someone else suggests a good idea. Sometimes, their idea is better than hers. Oh, no. Don’t upstage the leader.
She lives out loud and her ideas scream to be noticed. We need her because she gets things done. She is excited about life when it is her idea and will move heaven and earth to accomplish it.
It’s funny, I started talking about the group’s leader but ended up describing me. Sigh. Well, it’s all about me, my kids say.
Final brushstroke: I’d like to think I have hung up my dancing shoes and am learning to wait. I’m trying to learn that simple lesson. Please give us extroverts the grace we need. We will surely stumble. But, the world would be bland without our enthusiasm, passion and leadership. Don’t you think?
Readers’ comments
Send your comments to betty@bettyslade.com.

This story was posted on May 27, 2018.