08 July, 2010

Awkward encounters

Our whole year has been full of awkward encounters of various kinds, but this just-about-to-go-back point particularly lends itself to experiencing embarrassing social situations. Take the following examples:

Someone you've said an emotional goodbye to some days previous happens to see you at a shopping centre.
Running into a man who used to support you but has cut off his support for unknown reasons.
Someone who hasn't answered your emails about getting together, sees you on a train with your hyperactive kids.
Accidentally seeing someone who was part of a long-time-ago painful church discussion about your missionary call.
Receiving hand-made gifts from a need-to-please-others person that you are expected to take with you in your already bulging luggage.
While having difficult discussions with fractious kids over what to order at a fast-food restaurant, you run into an old acquaintance who wants a deep discussion.
A long-time-ago friend who doesn't know you are a missionary runs into you in a public place.
A shop assistant who wants to know your current postcode for a survey.

These vary in difficulty to manage, of course, but can be stressful, depending on how the other person reacts. The extra factor in here is that our children are more difficult to manage in public (and private too, of course) at the moment - so when we run into a situation that needs particular care, very often I don't have enough brain space left for nice social conversation. It is very tricky. All I can do is pray later that I said the right thing at the right time and didn't say the wrong thing at the wrong time.

1 comment:

Tim and Susan said...

Why is it we as missionaries tend to have more of those "awkward" moments....hmmm.