A happy Catholic introvert

I have just made a remarkable discovery, aided by a marvellous book. Here’s my surprise: I always thought I was an extrovert. I am basically at ease in social situations, don’t have trouble initiating conversations, have been elected to leadership positions numerous times. But I really do not like working in groups, writes Ann Turner.

- Busted Halo

I am far better and more productive working on my own (I am a writer, after all), taking long walks with the dog and thinking about things like Original Sin and the Big Bang. When meetings or lectures go on too long, I tell people, 'I think my pajamas are calling my name,' so I can slip out to go home, put on my fuzzy pajamas, and open a beloved book.

Being a member of a high profile writers group, full of strong personalities and talented women, I find that after about a half hour of talk, my batteries are used up. I can almost feel my inner self running down like a motor sputtering without gas. It reminds me in so many ways that our world, in particular our culture, is not constructed for introverts like myself who find too much talk overwhelming, who recharge their batteries through silence and meditation, and who prefer 'environments that are not over-stimulating' (Susan Cain, page 12).

When I attend the Protestant church that I love with my husband, one that does astonishing work in the name of social justice, I find I am exhausted at the end of the service. So much hand shaking! So many interactions! Such enthusiast, cheery goodwill! I have to go home and take a nap to recover.

The ritual of the liturgy takes over, and I feel as if I have boarded a train taking me to a fine destination, with nothing to distract me in my focus on God and how He is present in the mass, and with no sidebar conversations to scatter my thoughts.

So, as a result of finally framing my personality with the comfortable term, introvert (which does not mean shy; it simply refers to how we refresh ourselves and where we get our energy), I see how perfectly Catholicism matches my inner self and life.

In other words — enter church, do not talk to anyone for a while, kneel in silence, and pray. I can feel the vessel that is my inner self being filled with light and peace in this necessary solitude, in this moment of silent grace. I heave a sigh of relief.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World Which Cannot Stop Talking, by Susan Cain

FULL STORY A happy Catholic introvert (Busted Halo)

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