As part of my formation, I was asked to consider the question of who my lepers are.
At first, that was a tough one. People that other people might consider “lepers” are not really an issue with me. I have worked with people who have physical and mental disabilities. I have worked with juvenile offenders. I have visited prisons and assisted with Masses there on a regular basis, or interviewed inmates. I have volunteered in homeless shelters, had homeless people stay at my house, and served food on soup lines. I have hung out with panhandlers, alcoholics and drug addicts.
So I puzzled over this one. Then it dawned on me. For me, most people are lepers when they are in groups or when they demand my attention.
I don’t mean that I view them with repugnance. I just don’t like being around people, especially in social settings. When I was in seminary, I always tried to duck out during the after-Mass social hours. When I was in plays, or have taken part in protests, I often did not go or left as early as possible any social gatherings afterwards. Even with my fellow Secular Franciscans, I take part in events, then leave as soon as possible.
I tend to feel uncomfortable in groups of people. Self conscious, yes, but more.
When I look at it honestly, I have to admit I am more afraid of being put in situations where I feel obligated, where people will rely on me. I get uncomfortable when they want to confide in me and share things on an emotional level. When people cry, I just want to run away.
Why? What am I afraid of? Becoming close? Seeing Christ's face? Having to step outside my comfort zone? Overcoming my own selfishness?
Whatever the reason, it is not of Christ. It is something I have to confront.
Much more to consider.
Pax et bonum