Scary Old Ladies


This past Sunday at church, I had an idea. Actually, it's been a growing idea over the past few months...a desire, really, to become more involved. I don't want to just go through the motions.
Wake up. Go to work. Come home. Eat dinner. Go to sleep.

Of course, I do have more fun than that. My days are sprinkled with laughter and awkwardness and joy. But I often find myself feeling terrified at the thought that my life is moving rather quickly.

Every year my mom makes us share New Year's resolutions and write down on an index card five predictions of what will happen in the coming year. For 2010, the general family consensus involved my brother finding a job in Texas, which he did, and me getting engaged, which I won't. (Not to say that I am not completely in love with my dimpled, truck driving, heavily accented Okie, but come on. Who really wants to live with a boy? Plus, I have a very specific sleeping position that cannot be messed with lest it result in someone getting kicked in the face.)

But okay, the new year started six months ago! It's June already, and I find that fact to be mildly irritating. Halfway through the year, and I haven't really become more involved in anything; I haven't met anyone new. Blah.

So this past Sunday, I was on stage practicing my violin with the band, getting ready for the 9:00 service. Around 8:30, the older folk started to trickle in. Cute old men in dress slacks and collared shirts and ties, gray hair, and large, worn Bibles tucked safely under their arms. Elderly ladies in long skirts with high waistbands, shoes with Velcro straps, and gorgeous pearl necklaces.

I watched them as they slowly walked in and gathered together in the aisle, making their way from one friend to the next, exchanging a soft "hello" and a wobbly handshake.

Things have certainly changed since they were my age, I thought. Honestly, it's almost hard to imagine that someone so old was once so young. Certainly my grandpa never dated my grandma (I guess they called it courting back then) or had a first kiss or were once new parents. No, they were just always together, always old, always wise and gentle. But one day, many years ago, they were just like me.

It was then that my idea came. From where, I have no clue. I think it was God. I was in church, after all.

Brave, crazy inner voice: You should go talk to them.

My real inner voice, non crazy and lame: What? No way. I'm not doing that.

BCIV: Well, why not?

RIV: Because I can't just walk up and introduce myself! They all know one another. I'll feel stupid. I feel stupid already just thinking this. They're old, and besides, what will we talk about?

BCIV: It doesn't matter. Just do it.

In the end, I decided I wouldn't do it. I was nervous, and I just didn't want to look stu---

At that moment, however, my legs decided they didn't care what my real inner voice said, and they started walking me down the aisle toward three ladies wearing light blouses and gentle smiles.

"Hello," I said. I stuck out my own wobbly hand. "I'm Amanda. I play the violin up there." I pointed my finger behind me at the stage where I'd left my violin perched on a stool.
"Well hello, dear," said the one sitting closest to the aisle. "I'm Edna."
"I-I'm Jewel," said the second.
"And I'm Leona," whispered the third. At least, it sounded like a whisper since she was the third one down the row.
"Leona! My grandma's name is Leona," I said.
"Really? You don't meet many of those these days." She smiled, and dozen wrinkles creased around her mouth.
"I don't think I've ever met a Jewel." I turned to the one in the middle.
"Well you have now!" replied Edna (the one sitting on the aisle) with a saucy grin. "And she's a good one."
"Oh really?" I laughed.
"M-My daddy named me after a girl he u-used to go with," said Jewel. "I don't know if my momma even k-knew that."
"Well my middle name's Cora, and that was the girl my brother was dating at the time," said Edna.
I grinned. "I think my parents picked my name out of a hat."

At that, the four of us shared a laugh, and for the next ten minutes or so we continued to talk about how the church had changed over the years and how many women they had in their Sunday school class. In the end, they thanked me for coming over to say hello and smiled graciously when I told them I needed to get up front for the start of the service.

"Come back and see us again, dear," said Edna.
"Yes, and you can meet the rest of our friends," Leona added.

See, said my brave inner voice as I walked up the aisle, that wasn't so bad.

During the service, I occasionally looked out and found my new friends, watching as they sang and clapped along with the songs...and I was proud of myself. Not in a horribly vain way, although I suppose being at all proud of myself means I need to work on humility. But I was proud. I had been nervous to randomly introduce myself to someone new. Yes, it was church and they were old, so I doubt they would have drop-kicked me and stolen my purse. But still, there's that initial fear of rejection, of the unknown. But I went with the idea that you're never too old to make new friends, and I realized that it might even be more necessary for us young folk to be kind and open to new relationships, especially with the older crowd. Because, let's not forget, they were twenty-somethings once too.

Yes, life is moving quickly, but there's still so much to be learned, so much left to see and experience and get involved with, and a lot of new people to meet. Next week I'm going to go find Edna and Jewel and Leona and say hello. Then maybe I'll introduce myself to someone else.

It's been proven that my brave, crazy inner voice can be very persuasive.

Hannah said...

Aw, how sweet. I'm sure you made their day. Way to be brave!