GUEST BLOGGER: ANAISE
I love my husband. I love my kids. I read a lot. I write almost every day. I try to be nice to people. I fail too often, but I keep trying; that has to count for something, right?
“So, are you dating anyone?”
That’s the one I hated when I was single and all my cousins and friends were married.
“When are you going to start a family?”
That’s the one I hated when I was married and undergoing infertility tests.
“Which ones are really yours?”
That’s the one I hate now that I have children—children I’ve adopted and children I’ve birthed.
I hated it when people asked me questions; they all seemed so nosy and insensitive.
I decided that it would be much better behavior to politely wait for people to reveal themselves than to risk being nosy and insensitive. So I stopped asking questions.
And I stopped getting to know the people in my world.
My mom moved in with me recently. She’s fine. My family is fine. It’s an experiment in multi-generational living.
But she left a lot of people she loved and a place she loved, and in spite of half a dozen kids beating on her door every hour of the day, she’s been lonely.
In an effort to have a starting place for conversation, she asks me questions at church.
“What does ABC do for a living?”
“I don’t know.”
“What happened to DEF’s husband?”
“I don’t know . . . was she ever married?”
“Where does HIJ come from?”
“I’m not sure . . .”
After several weeks, she took the bull by the horns, printed out an address list and began calling people; “Hi, I’m Judy and I’m new at church. May I come get to know you?” Or something to that effect.
It’s difficult; she takes one or two of my kids along to help break the ice.
She asks lots of questions.
And she comes home with stories.
Like the woman who doesn’t have to go grocery shopping because she raises everything she eats herself—in a suburban backyard garden.
Or the man who escaped to America with nothing and has built a beautiful life and has gone back on occasion to bless and serve his country of birth with his education and faith.
Or the little old man who used to be a Navy Seal.
Or the woman who birthed a 13 ounce baby—and that baby is a perfect and delightful teenager today.
I’ve lived and worshiped and served alongside these people for nearly a decade, but I didn’t know.
Because I was trying to be polite.
I have a good friend. We talk freely and trustingly to one another. But I haven’t been much of a question-asker because of my be-polite resolution.
Her baby recently had to have a G-tube inserted. She hadn’t talked much about it. Was it so traumatic she didn’t want to talk about it? Was there some reason she hadn’t told me? Did I dare ask?
I finally took a deep breath, “Was it hard to hand your baby over to the surgeons?”
She sighed . . .
(My gut twisted in fear that I’d been insensitive.)
. . . and the story came pouring out.
I’m so glad I asked.