“What did the stormtroopers say when they walked into the church?”
I tend to sit on the edges of things. To not get too involved. To give little and expect nothing. Like C.S. Lewis’s Tisroc of Calormen, I’m unwilling to stretch my hand any further than I’m able to pull it back.
Once I’m in a comfortable space with people I like, I tend to stay there. A “no” marks the boundaries of my comfort and, therefore, the perimeter of my relationships. But about two years ago, I wondered if maybe I hadn’t drawn my relational boundary lines in the most pleasant of places. I decided to replace my comfortable “no” with an adventuresome “yes.” Yes to more invitations and more people and more possibilities of relationship. The road of yes led to uncharted places, at least for me. One yes got me into twelve-hour-long D&D sessions. Another led to running through the streets of Aurillac for fear of missing a train. After yet another yes, I found myself crashing into bed at four a.m. after being out all night with new friends—folks I’d met barely half a day earlier, most of whom spoke languages other than English. I’ve spent more money than I intended to while telling myself, I can make more money, but I can’t remake these memories.
The decision to say “yes” has stretched me. Uncomfortably at times, yes, but each expansion revealed new discoveries about who I am. Apparently, one of my favorite things to do is tell an inside joke in public. The combination of glee from those who get it and confusion from those who don’t brings me immense pleasure. I know—it sounds bad. Why tell a joke if everyone around won’t get to laugh? Because those who are in on the joke get to share in a short-lived joy of shared experience within the deep well of friendship. I’m discovering little bits of heaven on earth.