“C’mon! I thought you had some extra ones!”
My friend was growing increasingly impatient with me. We were making introductions to a group of young ladies and I needed to produce our organization’s cards with our contact information. I frantically searched my wallet, rustling through several expired video store membership cards, until I spied my objective-the purple business card with a background photo of deep space. Emblazoned in the center of the card were these two words:
It was my high school social club card. The social club was a uniquely Hawaiian phenomenon. The true origins are murky but these groups ostensibly arose as a way for high school students to meet one another, predominately on the island of Oahu. By the late 1980s, for equally unclear reasons, the groups had largely disappeared. For at least two generations, students like myself availed of these meetings, known as socials, to meet students of the opposite sex from other schools. Activity generally heated up around the prom seasons as young men, without a girlfriend, eagerly sought out dates for their gala events.
Attending an all-male high school, social opportunities to meet girls my age were not as easy as my other friends who were receiving a co-ed education. My understanding friends kindly invited me to join their club. I was socially awkward, even backward, and I was grateful for this opportunity to meet young ladies whom I probably would not have an opportunity if these social clubs did not exist.
The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.
Proverbs 20:5 (ESV)
Social anxiety and awkwardness.
During a sensitive period in my life, I had friends whose compassionate spirits helped me to break out of my introverted shell. Their empathy gave me the self-confidence I needed to mature as I entered college and adulthood. For many others, however, the path is not as smoothly paved and the pain may continue through adulthood. Whether it is social clubs or church fellowship groups, all participating members have a responsibility to be welcoming to anyone who visits or joins. Too often, regular members of a church, gravitate to their own cliques and friends, after cursory introductions to new visitors. Thus, what began as an opportunity to bring healing, inclusion, and acceptance, may instead aggravate an already awkward social situation. As Christians, we have a responsibility to be aware and understanding of these possibilities and always seek to embrace the unprejudiced love of Jesus Christ for all we meet.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.