The Grace of Our Clumsiness
The conversation was 10 clumsy minutes long.
I was with an incredibly cool couple - generous, visionary, wicked smart. And I'd decided I, too, would be incredibly cool.
I went for big jokes. Nobody laughed.
I used large words and Latin phrases incorrectly. Everyone looked befuddled.
I bulldozed through pauses, made nonsensical pop culture references, laughed loudly at the wrong times.
When the conversation was done, I didn't feel incredibly cool. I felt incredibly clumsy. Which, if you know that feeling, is not a great one.
Except for this: I'm going to guess that you do know that feeling. In fact, I think feeling clumsy and awkward is such a common part of the human experience. Perhaps more common than feeling cool and on our game.
And when people share their clumsy moments with each other, it nearly always evokes an, "Oh yes! Let me tell you about the time I went to a job interview with broccoli in my teeth and my fly unzipped..."
We see ourselves in each others' clumsy moments - much more so than we see ourselves in each others' flawless moments. Which means there is real grace in our clumsiness: the grace that brings us into kinship with each other.
This doesn't mean I search out clumsiness. It has an uncanny ability to find me. But there's a sweet bit of comfort in knowing that these experiences - raw and isolating as they are in the moment - can be the very things that connect us to each other.