Halloween = parties. One tomorrow, one Saturday. I am thus compelled to contemplate proper party conversation and participation. (How do you like those c's and p's?)
It is always helpful to remember that almost everyone in the world doesn't think they are very good at the whole "social thing." It almost never fails that people I think are so calm and cool at making conversation and seem not nervous at all in party settings will later confess their anxiety over that very thing. We all say to each other, "Are you kidding? You're so great! I'm the one who's socially awkward." Just realizing that changes your perspective. We're all just human. In a setting surrounded by people you only slightly know, you are probably going to be a little awkward. You're probably going to have to endure some silences, and lags in conversation, and say some dumb things. You'll tell a story and not know where it's going and it will never get there. You'll be in people's way, a lot if its crowded. That's all a part of it. Part of the human thing. Most people choose to ease this a bit with alcohol. At parties I go to, no one is getting trashed, and they're responsible. I usually don't for the simple reason that I don't particularly like the way most of it tastes. And having been that way forever, I'm used to this awkwardness that is me, and can deal with it fairly well. (Not to say that's the only reason to drink- but if you don't like beer, then it is the reason... meaning, when my roommate makes me a yummy fun drink I don't complain :)
The last time I went to a party at this person's place, I was very struck by how much is going on at one time. Especially in these kinds of circles- you're going to a party with people who examine their consciences. So you know that words are not just coming and going, they will be remembered. Everyone is trying to figure out how to "be good"- even a saint- yet be themselves too. There are crushes, there are disappointments, there are former relationships or budding ones, mixed feelings, hidden ones... the list goes on. And it's all part of the night. God wills somehow that you're standing in this room with this particular group of people. You have the choice of whether you're going to live for others and go outside of yourself (to that person standing alone) or remain comfortably with people you know well. You will have to rack your brain for real questions to ask strangers which don't allow one-word answers, and you'll have to actually care about their response and be open to being surprised. All this while getting over your own self-consciousness, background music that can be distracting, or feelings about this or that person. And since most of these people are in the state of grace, the Holy Spirit is totally present even if we're not having "prayer time." How cool is that?
So my prayer for tomorrow is the strength to be obedient to the Holy Spirit. Follow Him wherever He leads, and if it's to a person who rambles on without stopping for breath in the corner away from all my friends, so be it. For the grace to love them and not make it evident that I would like out of this conversation. (not that I've ever done that... I mean.... shoot I'm a wretch) To be ungrasping of anyone's attention. For humility and the willingness to be set aside. For freedom in my heart, and for it to be protected by Mary in all its vulnerability.
I'm so glad it will be St. Jude's feast day! I'm a hopeless cause :)