I remember to this day, all the times as a youth growing up, when I felt as if I were on the outside looking in. Even when I was in the same room with others, be it family, friends, classmates, coworkers, it seemed there was a glass wall separating me from them. There was something that kept me apart. What it was I didn’t know or understand, I just knew it was there. That too high to go over, to thick to go through, wall barricading the way.
I will admit to being, even now, somewhat socially inept and awkward to the point of discomfort in some situations. This causes me to hide away at home since I no longer work. My son has taken to calling me reclusive. That glass wall still there, but after all these years have transformed from the dividing line to a safe place / prison. If friends hear of me going somewhere, they comment about me at least being out of the house. Yes, it stings.
It needs to change. I need to change. I have been working on it slightly but I realize that slightly doesn’t cut it, I need to get serious. Here are some of the steps I hope to implement.
Return to regular worship in church. I helped in the nursery recently and was told that people had been asking about me since they hadn’t seen me in a while. It felt good to know I had been missed. It felt, different as it wasn’t something I had heard much before.
Get out of the house more. I know its officially winter, but I live in a southern area that doesn’t get all that cold. Even if it is uncomfortable to me, if I’m moving, if I’m active, I don’t feel it that badly. A nice strenuous hike can warm someone up quickly.
Grab my camera-the real one as the one on my phone is horrible- and go on photo scavenger hunts. Even at this time of year there are opportunities and subjects to be found.
I am part of a Jeep group, I need to attend more events. They don’t all require money. Some events are times of sharing company and conversation. They are also great ways to show off your jeep, even if it isn’t a Wrangler.
Seek out like minded individuals who enjoy the same things.
Learn to dance. I don’t have to become a dancing with the stars contestant but someone who can join in when the music starts somewhere.
Take myself out to eat, to a coffee shop, window shopping (leaving money at home).
Volunteer for something, a lot of somethings.
But see, that’s me. Those are some of the things that a sixty-four year old, young at heart, so called senior citizen can consider. I am a Caucasian, Christian, heterosexual, who has not had to face what so many others who identify differently have had to deal with. Yes, as a woman I have had to deal with the glass ceiling, good ole boy network. Yes, I’ve dealt with the ‘a woman can’t do that’ only to prove them wrong. Those things (among others) are still minor compared to the battles others face.
How could I dare to tell someone facing things that I have not, how to act? How, could I ever understand their pain and frustrations? In truth, I can’t. We can empathize with many things. We can understand what we personally have dealt with, but we can’t fully feel and understand what we have not. And that is where, if I could offer a gift comes in. If I could understand, fully understand and had the means, I would tear down the glass walls that separate us. Be it race, be it age, social status, beliefs and identifications. I don’t have to agree with everything, that doesn’t mean I have to push people aside and put up walls. I know the outside looking in feeling, it hurts, I don’t want to cause others to feel that pain.
As Christians, we are instructed to love our neighbor. Who is our neighbor? Everyone around us. Love, like a pebble dropped into a pool of water, the ripples moving and expanding outward. Jesus did not condone or accept the sin, but He loved the sinner. He loves us all, no matter who we are, where we are from or any of the other identification tags that are placed upon us. That’s how we are to love. that’s how we are to accept.
As parents, it is up to us to teach out children. Simply because another person is different, doesn’t mean they should be excluded or worse ridiculed.
Glass walls divide, glass walls prevent. They prevent inclusion, but they also prevent the amazing things that could happen when people come together. Because or in-spite of their differences. We don’t have to like everything about others to love and include them in our lives. It isn’t even something that needs to be wrapped, unless you consider being wrapped in a hug. Because you shattered that wall.