Friday, August 16, 2013


     There is an ongoing joke within my youth group that I hate fun. I personally don't mind this joke at all, because at the end of the day, I completely agree. I'm in the minority of teenagers who do not like loud music, dancing, chaos, messiness, and large groups of people. In fact, I cannot stand crowds and lots of noise. I've been thinking about why this is lately, and I have come to some conclusions.
      First of all, I place immeasurable value on one-on-one or small group conversations. I feel ten times more comfortable in a small setting than with a lot of people. I'd rather have a really good conversation with one other person dealing with arthritis than be placed in a room with one hundred people with arthritis. At church camp, where this "Rachel hates fun" joke came about, my mission site involved interacting with children. By the end of the week that we were there, I knew about 4 kids really well. I was familiar with all of them, but I knew those 4 children significantly better. I feel like that is where God calls me a lot of the time. I feel like a lot of the time I am meant for one-on-one conversation with people. Of course, in a lot of ways, this turns into a weakness. But sometimes it is a very good thing.
      Secondly, I am completely comfortable with silence. I do not feel awkward when a conversation, car ride, meal, etc. becomes quiet. I have a theory that more words are said in silence than in speech. I think arthritis has really made me this way. A good friend doesn't always speak or know the right thing to say. Sometimes, a good friend just shuts up. Silence is very wonderful and is perfect in some situations. It is time for our society to overcome the notion that silence is bad, awkward, and unnecessary. Silence is as crucial as sound. It was only after a long time of sitting against the wall with our legs crossed that one of the little boys from the mission site at camp began to tell me why he was so upset. What he needed was not only a fix to his problem, but someone to care. He needed someone to wait with him until he was ready to explain; someone to care enough to be willing to sit there in silence with him. Even if he never told me what was going on, I still think just being there with him would have meant something to him. Because I have been exposed to the beauty and the kindness of silence, I hate lots of noise and loud sounds and commotion. I like the quiet moments much better.
       My idea of fun has been drastically different ever since I got arthritis. I like going to quiet little restaurants, listening to people play guitar, and writing. I like getting on the elevator at school and having a normal, happy little conversation with whoever else is on there. I like listening to other people's stories and reading. I like curling up on the couch with my sister and watching Grey's Anatomy. And my favorite thing in the world to do? I like to go to the church playground all by myself and swing. I like being able to hear the birds and forget about everything else going on.
       I firmly believe that the reason I appreciate silence so much is because I have arthritis. In moments of intense pain, you find that the most important thing to do is breathe. You find that no words anyone can say will make anything better. Silence is essential in those moments.
       I like having fun, but I like my kind of fun. My kind of fun is not loud. My kind of fun is rather quiet.