â€œMom! Youâ€™re such a little rebel!â€ My son, a man now in his early thirties, showed surprise and delight at the story I had just shared. At issue was the newly minted mandate, er, strong invitation, that congregation members at our church wear name tags. Personally, I detest those paper badges. They leave sticky residue on whatever Iâ€™m wearing, often hang like a rock-climber in trouble off of my boob, and invite social intimacy when itâ€™s not offered.
I get it, I do. The intention is goodâ€¦the name tags lead to introductions between congregant members who are new or just havenâ€™t gotten around to meeting and greeting one another.Â But as an introvert such devices are akin to standing naked in a room full of people thrusting cold outstretched hands at you.Â I want to run. I want to hide.
To an extrovert like my husband, name tags are social lubricant. He can shake hands and slap shoulders with the confidence a shaky memory canâ€™t offer…
Scenario: Church â€œshare the peaceâ€ time. I start staring at my feet while my husband ranges out and around the room. He sees a likely soul. Slyly reading name tag as he approaches man â€¦
â€œBill! You old so and so. Howâ€™ve you been?â€ Then, when he returns to me, he whispers, â€œI always thought his name was Wendell. Huh.â€
Yeah, that seems authentic and meaningful.
In my rebellion Iâ€™ve gotten so I either slide by the tag table while pretending to dig breath mints out of my purse, or I write something nonsensical on the tag like, â€œTadâ€™s wench,â€ or, â€œSex cougar in training,â€ or other labels sure to make a Lutheran uncomfortable.
Once, in a bold move, I actually said, â€œNo thank you,â€ when the woman waggled a tag in my face. She turned a slight shade of pink, continued to waggle, and said, â€œBut youâ€™re supposed to take one!â€ I held up both of my hands and shook my head. She was stunned and I felt wicked. Deliciously, anonymously, wicked.
My son, a person who shares the much misaligned path of the alone-loving introvert, says my actions are creating the very thing I donâ€™t want…attention. He’s right, but in a world that loves extroverts, I feel a tiny victory when I stay true to my personality.
Iâ€™ve got to believe there is room in heaven for introverts too, even if weâ€™re outnumbered down here on earth. Maybe God has a large wall all of us quiet folk can lean against while watching the extroverts dancing and milling and exchanging phone numbers. Weâ€™d be happy, theyâ€™d be happy, and isn’t that what heaven is all about? Finding a peace that surpasses all understanding?
Geez, it just occurred to meâ€¦do the newbies in heaven have to wear name tags? No, no, Â that would be hell.