Several years ago, I read Peter Ames Carlin’s biography of Bruce Springsteen.
And in reading it, I discovered something I share in common with him.
Not guitar talent.
Not singing voice.
Not ability to write lyrics.
Not even time in New Jersey — my seven years pale in comparison to the sixty-five or so that he has lived there.
No, it’s this: as the book says, he has a tendency toward social isolation while at the same time having a secret desire to be the center of attention.
Whoa. That’s an interesting paradox, isn’t it? Within the same person a desire to escape people and a near-compulsion to be in the spotlight.
And just when I started to think, “man, that guy can sing but he sure is messed up” I realized: that’s me.
I don’t mind a day alone. In social situations that don’t involve this church — say, a function for Julie’s job — I can be a pretty good wallflower. And I loathe going out to lunch after preaching — even if it’s with good friends. What do I do instead? Go to the YMCA. To work out alone.
And yet . . . when the environment involves the church or even the denomination, I become a social butterfly. I love to mingle. I enjoy small talk. And on Sunday mornings, I really, really like to stand up in public and teach, provoke, inspire (sometimes), and console.