In the Interest of Transparency

This October, I’ll be attending the Allume Conference for bloggers and writers. As a form of community-building, conference attendees have been challenged today to write letters, so to speak, to our roommates for the conference. I’m doing that today, and linking up with other conference attendees. Feel free to read along.

Dear Shari,

Well, I think you know already the first thing I should tell you: that I didn’t even want a roommate. I didn’t, and I was actually excited about getting away for a weekend and staying in a hotel by myself. But then I saw that some other Allume kindred spirits needed hotel rooms, and I knew it was God telling me He had other plans for my weekend away.

You see, I am a hider. An introvert, yes, but a hider in the sense that I hide from conflict….tension….uncomfortable, stressful situations. And rooming with someone I haven’t met in person before? That’s stressful for me. It scares me. It scares me because I have had roommate situations go horribly wrong before. It scares me because our hotel room will be a sanctuary for me, as I retreat into myself to recharge and process all that God will undoubtedly be doing with me. And yes, it scares me *a little* because I’m sure I have some interesting habits that will be exposed to someone with a rather impressive internet presence and following. (Should we sign a privacy act disclaimer? I’m just kidding. Kind of.)

I tried to hide when I went to Nebraska for my first-ever blogging conference this past April. I looked for a way to have a room by myself then, too, but it wasn’t an option. Of all the things I had to be nervous about in advance of that trip, I think I had more people praying for my roommate than anything else. I was nervous. I was scared. I was prepared to crawl into my shell as I came into our room each night. I was ready for the worst.

And I was oh, so pleasantly surprised. My roommate there was incredible, and she is one of my dearest friends today, even though we spent less than 72 hours together. Rather than gush on about her and how much I love her (which I could easily do), I will instead direct the focus back to God. HE did that. He had His hand on our pairing, and He knew that we were the roommates that we each needed. (Did that make sense? Probably not…..but that gives you a little advance taste of how rambling and illogical and nonsensical I will become after around, oh, about 9:00. My college roommates used to say I was about to turn into a pumpkin when that hour approached. I digress.)

You see, Shari, I am definitely nervous about our close living quarters in just 9 short weeks. I am nervous because I don’t do chit-chat small talk very well, and I am afraid you’re going to think I’m weird. I’m nervous because I am a very authentic person, and what you see will be what you get….even if you don’t like what you see of me very much. I’m nervous because I am a very transparent person who values transparent friendships, so I may ask questions or introduce topics that may or may not be appropriate for only having known you 3 1/2 minutes. And I’m nervous because sometimes I just don’t feel like talking at all, and after reading this way-too-long post you may assume that I will talk a lot when, in fact, I may not…and I’m nervous that if that is the case, you’ll interpret my quietness as snobbiness.

I’m nervous about a lot of things, but I am not nervous about God’s role in this. See, I’m quirky and moody and complex, but God is consistent and faithful and true. He has His sovereign hand on every aspect of this conference, not excluding the hotel room situation. Even as I was anticipating my solitary evenings in my room, God was smiling and saying, “Ah, but Shari will need a roommate, and that will be better for you.”

So friend, this is going to be good. If you can see past my quirks – Neti pot and tooth-grinding mouth guard and blankie and all – I promise to look past yours. I think God has more in mind for us than that, and I can’t wait to meet you and begin this journey of friendship He has planned.

With love (and promises of chocolate),

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