Christians are never alone

Have you ever felt alone in a crowd? It happened to me the other day when I attended a baby shower for the daughter of an acquaintance. It was one of those situations in which propriety dictated I appear, but in actuality nobody cared one way or another if I showed up.

I got a bad feeling about the evening when I found myself seated between a mom and three young children on my left, and two middle-aged women in deep conversation on my right.

Usually, my daughter, Val, would have joined me, but another obligation kept her from coming along, which left me sticking out like a solo sore thumb amidst the happily conversing people around me.

Deciding to break through the social force field, I waited until one member of the chatty middle-aged twosome headed to the buffet for a second helping of Swedish meatballs. Turning to her friend, I smiled.

“What a lovely shower,” I said.

“Hmm?” she asked, eyeing me suspiciously.

“I said this is a nice shower, don’t you think?”

“Yes, it certainly is,” she replied, looking anxiously toward the buffet line, apparently wishing her friend would return and spare her the annoyance of my presence.

Well, she wasn’t getting off the hook that easily, I told myself.

“So,” I said, smiling even more brightly, “I don’t think we’ve met. My name is Kim.”

With an audible sigh, she forced a smile.

“I’m Lateena.”

“Oh, cool,” I said. “I’m Irish.”

“What? No, I don’t mean ‘latina.’ I’m Lateena; that’s my name.”

“Oh, I get it. Lateena, is that French?” Okay, I was messing with her a little at this point, but, hey, she deserved it.

She resumed looking toward the buffet and doing something funny with her eyebrows. When her friend quickly reappeared, I figured out it was code for “I’m stuck with a lunatic. Get over here fast!”

Deciding I’d bothered Lateena enough, I turned to the slightly harried-looking young woman on my other side.

“So, how do you know the guest of honor?” I asked.

“We graduated high school together,” she said. “We’ve been friends for … Joshua! Get away from that cake this minute! You’ve already had three pieces! … a long time. She’s been to all three of my baby … Lisa-Anne! Take your brother’s stuffed bear out of the punch bowl! … showers. I was thrilled to be able to … Sammy, stop crying. Lisa-Anne didn’t drown Boo Boo Bear. She just gave him a swimming lesson … be here for her special day.”

“I’m sure she’s delighted you’re here.” I told her. Sensing a headache coming on, I extricated myself from this slightly confusing conversation.

The rest of the party was pretty much the same. Fortunately, baby showers don’t typically last too long — there are only so many diaper-themed games and activities that can be played, after all — and this was no exception.

Being alone in a crowd isn’t much fun, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.

The Bible tells us that those who follow Jesus are “in the world,” but not “of the world.”

I guess maybe that’s why so many Christians are always just a little homesick.