January 2, 2012 by Caroline
I have a high tolerance for awkward.
If I could knit some of my awkward stories together, you wouldn’t believe the knotted mess of yarn I’d end up with – some very fantastical adventures, to be sure. My sister (who has a low tolerance for awkward) sometimes interrupts me mid-story because she doesn’t even want to imagine the situations I find myself in.
I finally found a word for it: gauche. It means, “lacking social experience or grace.”
In high school, I once pronounced genre, “jenner.” Yep, I did.
You might think the only way is up from there, but I’ve fought hard to stay gauche. It hasn’t always been intentional, but the results bring laughter and I’m glad to throw in some deep-hearted bellows to the joyful mix.
The other day, I couldn’t even finish my sentence in a conversation with my boss that started out, “Earlier when I was trying to see how high I could high kick–”
“What? Is that weird?”
I have believed for a long time the power such acts possess is unparalleled. Forget about the pressure of memorizing social cues. Trying to “say the right thing” always landed me far from the target, but with more embarrassment and less laughter. If I’m willing to be the most awkward in the room – to rediscover that childlike freedom, there’s a good chance everyone else feels good about who they are and I get to laugh, too.
I remember hanging out with my friend Sarah in Honduras and talking about how God can sanctify our personalities. We were wondering if, as we become more like Christ, our personalities would be less…. well, weird. I was mostly wondering if I would ever have less gaucheries in my days. If I would ever, you know, be less awkward.
I was doing some acrobatics in her kitchen as we thought things through and while she endured my spider webs of words. Then, all of a sudden, I wondered if I could do the splits. Without any explanation, I disappeared behind her countertop. When I came back up, Sarah was full of giggles.
“I just wondered if I could still do the splits,” I said with a blank face.
Through her giggles and gasps, she said, “I think your sanctified personality should have more splits, for sure!”
And I think that’s when I decided my very gauche life is quite alright. I’m thankful for those moments when I can see joy tugging at the corner of someone’s mouth or when I see laughter dancing in the light of someone’s eyes.
I’m thankful for opportunities to throw life’s glitter up in the air and see where it lands. That sounds very shiny and cute, like Lisa Frank stickers. But, I’m serious.
Last night, my family shared around the dinner table, “a hope for this year.”
My hope was to get serious about joy.
I’m ’bout to figure out what makes brown horizons and dark corners and sad eyes shine.
let LOVE fly like cRaZy