Yes, I am an introvert. A lot of people laugh hysterically when I tell them, but let me help you understand. Here are some characteristics of introverts: need and enjoy time alone, need to self reflect, feel drained after big activities even if they are really fun. Are good listeners, passionate friends, loyal, trustworthy. Introverts are often independent, creative, responsible, and faithful workers. The misconception of introverts is that they are shy, reclusive, and anti social. Actually some are. Many artists, authors, and musicians are extreme introverts. But many introverts can speak publicly, have high powered jobs, and leadership positions. Some well known introverts are Eisenhower,Gerald Ford, Socrates, Tiger Woods, Chevy Chase, Julia Roberts, Johnny Carson, CS Lewis, JFK, Thomas Jefferson. Shocking, I know. That's how I am--I can speak easily in front of hundreds of people, I can interact well, have lots of friends, but then I need to retreat. I can't have a full schedule non stop everyday or I melt down. I crave my morning quiet times, with my coffee, devotional, journal, and Bible. I have to have my exercise--hiking,running, spinning --it gives me mental retreat. I need to process before I respond or react and if I don't I will regret what I have said or done. I don't like, even avoid large parties where I don't know a lot of people , but thrive if I know many and feel comfortable being me. I crave one on one time with friends--lunches, walks, coffee, wine where we can talk about real and deep things.
So why am I writing about all this? Because these last few months since being diagnosed with cancer, I have the appearance and attitude of being an extreme extrovert. I have been spending time with lots of people, and loving it. This birthday week I celebrated in a different way daily. Cancer brings out passion for life and it may look like I am an extrovert, but I still steal away for my much needed naps, I cling to my Bible and journal, I find comfort in special family times--dinner around the table, snuggle time in front of mindless tv, family movie nights, reading together in bed.
Today I am writing from the infusion center, chemo round six. My chemo buddy is Becky, also someone who seems like an extrovert, but needs her reflective time..I am blogging, she is knitting. We have our talking and reading time, but are comfortable just being together in silence.
Jesus was also one who could have extrovert and introvert characteristics. Always surrounded by crowds, he could speak truth to thousands, but took comfort in pouring into his twelve disciples. He always retreated for solitude and time with his Father and in reflective prayer.
We can learn how to relate to each other better when we understand each other better. Get to know your friend's and family members' personality styles and characteristics and adapt communication so you can work better together. Cancer has brought out so much reflection in me and it has caused me to really try to understand people better. I am learning to be less judgmental and more patient. I am finding joy in simple and special things. I am loving life, and loving people more fully. Try to do that today.