it’s always very interesting to introduce myself to someone for the first time.
i absolutely love meeting new people. i’d classify myself as an extrovert, for sure. once, i told a coworker that my dream was to walk into a room full of people i don’t know and just start introducing myself to them one by one, getting to know them.
she stared at me blankly and said simply, “that gives me anxiety.”
meeting new people is so fascinating, because you can choose which facts to reveal about yourself. depending on the scenario and which pieces of my life i choose to reveal, i could present as a completely different person from one day to the next. also, there’s always the option to exaggerate [or just flat-out lie, why dress it up in fancy words?] nuances of ourselves to appear a certain way to a certain audience.
in most circumstances, inevitably, the question is posed: “and, what do you do?”
i love this question.
my creativity starts to spin and i usually want to say sometime like, “i do so many things! and they’re all awesome! want to hear all about them?” but i usually don’t. because people are generally asking more out of polite interest or a simple lack of other conversational routes, and hearing so much about me is not necessarily their goal.
most of the time, i understand that they are asking about my career, so i smile and say, “i’m a social worker.”
after that, a few things can happen. the person can smile and say, “oh that’s so great.” and ask for more details. based on their facial expressions, i’ll disclose as little or as much as i feel is appropriate.
or, they will get this stuck-in-the-mud expression on their face that implies, “i don’t know what to do with that,” and then change the subject. i am not offended by this and will smile and engage in whatever change of topic they choose.
the one that i have never quite figured out a game plan for is when they look at me with large eyes and say “wow, you must be a saint.” or something along those lines.
i am relatively well-versed at determining social dynamics, so i am aware that it would not be correct to nod seriously and confirm, “yes. as a matter of fact, i am.”
that would be considered narcissism. and lying, as i covered earlier.
in the past i have protested and said, “oh, no.” at which point some people will resort to option B. others will insist that i am, which leads me back to the beginning of option C. also not helpful.
so i’ve decided something.
here’s the truth of it all: everybody’s got something that gets them all twitchy and fired up. you know what i mean.
the seahawks. bicycling. political debates. organic farming. sales at department stores.
there’s always a moment in conversation with someone, where you realize, “i woke them up.” the conversation may have been lagging up until that point, or it may have been lively, but not the point that it currently is. at that point, the individual is buzzing. they’ve switched into hyper-human mode.
and it’s fun to watch.
especially when you are first getting to know someone, because i think you see a very true glimpse of who they really are.
and i’m not a saint. anyone who’s spent more than 24 hours in my company knows this for a fact.
but that’s my twitch. my buzz. my hyper-human mode.
that’s what i care about.
i care about foster kids.
honestly, there’ve been so many moments in my life that have synergistically come together to get me to this point, it’s just woven throughout my life story in a way i can’t ignore. and that’s why i’m a social worker.
and yeah, it’s hard.
so what about you?
i know that if you are reading this, you have one. there’s that thing. when it comes up in conversation, you feel your heart start to beat a little bit faster. when you read about it in the news or on twitter, your interest is immediately piqued. when other people mention it, you just can’t keep quiet.
my guess is, there’s a reason.
i believe in God. and i think that He made me. and i think that He made you, too.
and within that interest lies potential for you to do something.
possibly, something that really matters.
really, really matters.
and each time that we jump in and do something for that cause or that interest that we care about, it’s like another solid confirmation that it wasn’t a mistake to pursue it because we can feel it changing us.
i’ve always really thought that the people who are the hardest to love, need it the most. and when i see a foster family commit to a kid that has had a rough life and gives them a run for their money, i know.
i hate being cold. and when it’s 22 degrees outside and i know that a kid who was cold yesterday has a warm coat and a safe place to sleep tonight, i know.
and when i see my own family and the way that God has transformed each of us from the inside out, i know.
it’s important that i care.
if you are reading this, i hope that you have something you really care about. i hope that you pursue it and chase it down with all of your energy, and i hope that God gives you the courage to trust Him with the outcome.
and i hope that you and i both don’t give up.
because it’s really important that we do something.
thanks for caring.
ALSO: if you would like more information about things that i care about, check out http://www.tacomayfc.org/onechild
also on twitter and instagram @onechildyfc