We sat in a confined space, lowered our voices, and shared intimate details about our individual journeys. A table was open next to us, and my germaphobe self hoped it would remain unoccupied. No only that, but there would be zero privacy if someone sat down. AND someone did sit down. I paid the person no mind as I leaned in a little closer and continued in conversation.
After a few minutes, the new occupant at the neighboring table opened his computer and began working. I waited with expectant eyes to see if headphones would appear, but they did not, so we carried on because we came for connection.
The antidote to the loneliness epidemic is connection.
In the middle of a pandemic, fear is palpable, and there is a calculated risk every time we choose to lean in closer. We know that sickness is a real possibility when we choose face to face engagement.
To be honest, I am pretty risk adverse. Calculated risks do not enter the top 10 on my bucket list. For a girl who has been drenched in fear for as long as I can recall, this is not surprising. EXCEPT–I have also battled loneliness for as long as I can remember.
The antidote to loneliness is connection. Connection comes with a calculated risk.Tweet
Beyond choosing to continue meeting with a few friends, I have also stepped into two additional risky situations [because why do things in small reasonable doses when overwhelming your introverted self is an option-ha].
First, if you have not heard, I am working on releasing a book in late Fall! What in the world? Be watching for more information about how to order Broken Vessels, and if you are not on my email list, you can join here to ensure you get first looks and dibs on all the things!
Second, today is the official reveal and launch of my new nonprofit endeavor! While I cannot reveal too much [yet], suffice it to say that #sowkind is on the move! Remember my darling red VW bus? I am so excited about what is ahead, and I hope you will see the value and join the fun when I share more. For now, follow the adventure by liking our pages on Facebook and Instagram.
For a risk adverse girl, sharing your heart in close proximity to a perfect stranger, writing a book, and launching a nonprofit feels wildly cavalier. If you are a life coach who works with people who are terrible at managing time and calendars, please send me your best advice because I feel sure that doing both at the same time was incredibly poor timing on my part. OR–it was just the right timing. As one of my friends says, if not now, when?
Anyway–after hours of sharing all the words at the coffee shop, my friend and I began packing it up and clearing our tiny tabletop. Just as we were about to walk away, the guy at the neighboring table turned to us and asked if we had a podcast. We laughed at his question–assuming he was declaring how overwhelmed he was by our incessant talking. Turns out, he was serious. He went on to say how much he had learned as he listened. CALCULATED RISK. He was listening the entire time while we were sharing about how we wanted to be better in our relationships. He thanked us for teaching him a few things that day, and then we parted ways.
I drove home feeling uniquely connected to the perfect stranger who silently participated in our intimate conversation.
Maybe it was he who felt lonely that day. Maybe showing up for all of us was the wonderful way we were drawn into a meaningful moment. It was a calculated risk to show up, speak up, and choose connection. But it was also a calculated risk for a stranger to listen to our conversation and speak a word of encouragement into us.
Calculated risks will not always have warm-fuzzy results. Hurt will happen. Sickness is possible. If we are willing to accept the hard possibilities, we might also avail ourselves to authentic connection. Although I have typically been characterized by risk aversion, I am learning the value of a few calculated risks. It is worth it. Don’t you think?
PS-if you haven’t had a chance to download and read my eBook, Wisdom in the Weeds, you can do that here. It’s free, so what are you waiting for?