Words of Hope: Relational Bravery

Dad was an extreme extrovert. He loved to be around people. My oldest is an extreme extrovert like her papa. She is constantly with friends and spending time with others. I read recently you can tell an extrovert because they use hyperbole: the greatest, the most fantastic! Dad loved to talk this way and to live this way. At College Prep Camp, one year when they were staying at the Embassy Suites in Portland with the team, Dad got onto an elevator and said hello to the group of people waiting to go to their rooms. Everyone answered his questions with a cackling laugh. Dad, who is rarely nonplussed by others, stood in shock. He discovered this group was attending a laugh conference. Dad joined in with what they were learning. For months he would teehee or guffaw loudly. 

Our family broke into laughter every time he would look at us out of the blue and start to cackle. I wonder how my life would have unfolded if I hadn’t grown up with an extremely extroverted father. As Dad grew older, he worked to be quieter and to listen more. He worked to have days of silence and listening. He moved toward a beautiful balance of both contemplation and enthusiasm. 

I am proud of my Dad’s journey to love people in ways that were not natural to his personality. I admire his dedication to loving as fully as he knew how. His willingness to risk, laugh, and be laughed at, and discipline to be silent when he would like to talk helped me be more of a relational friend. Watching his example, I could see how much people wanted to feel loved and connected. They want to laugh, they want to be called by their name, they want to have a close, loving friend. Dad desired above to love God and to love others. His extroverted character gathered many friends, and his introverted practice made them lifelong. Dad taught me these important lessons because of his example of relational bravery.

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly since love covers a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8