I like to cause people to react. I like to say things surprising, silly and/or stupid and watch people’s faces for their reaction. If I do not get a reaction, then I have failed and I feel the need to try again, or to point out to them that they were supposed to react to what I just said. (“Hello! Were you listening?”) This is what my wife has to live with, as I am constantly trying to elicit responses from her and chiding her if I don’t get one (I don’t know how many times I’ve said, “that may be stupid, but it at least deserves a reaction”).
This may be one of the bigger obstacles between God and me. When I talk, when I pray, I don’t get a reaction. No voice out of the sky or in my ear saying, “Roger, that was a horrible prayer!” Or, “Yes, I have heard your prayer and I will take care of that…in my time.” Even, “Sigh…we have to start over with you, pal.” I don’t get an immediate, noticeable reaction from God like the ones I yearn for from the people around me. I can only hope and believe that while this does not meet my desires (death to self), it is building faith in my life (without which it is impossible to please God, Heb. 11:6).
I think the reason behind this is that as a child and teenager I was always trying to make my friends laugh. I liked it when they laughed, and I liked being the one who brought laughter on. I could (and often still can) be relied upon to speak the sarcastic comment or silly popular quote that fit well in any situation, turning a situation from an everyday, mundane, boring one into something a little more silly. I enjoy laughter and if someone else isn’t making you laugh, then I want to. I’m not jealous. If someone else can make you laugh, then that is fine with me as well; I just want you smiling and happy.
I think this part of my nature has come to play in a different way in the past few years. Instead of physical people in front of me to get a response out of, I often entertain with ‘virtual’ people, i.e. communicate on the Internet. This newer form of communication has shown me just how deep my desire for the reactions of others really is. I find that when I email someone, I want a response. I know not every email needs to be responded to and I don’t expect a response from every single one, but for the most part I am unhappy when I am the last one to type a response and do not receive one in return. If I email you a funny saying, I want to know what your reaction to it was. If I send you a forward (which I seldom do, they have to be really good to get past me), I want to know your response to it. If I send you pictures, I want to know exactly what you thought of each and every one. I guess that is somewhat of an expectation I have of people, though I said before I didn’t want to expect anything of you.
Like email, I’ve found that I desire people’s reactions to my posts on this website. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this in times past, but it fits with my topic today so I’ll mention it again. I want; I feel I need comments from those who are kind enough to take the time to read this. Comments are where I find my joy. No responses, no reactions, no joy.
Sometimes if I can’t get someone’s attention, I’ll say stranger and stranger things until something I say finally catches their ear. Though I have written some strange articles for this site, it was not a plea for attention but was just meant for entertainment. I haven’t become that pathetic quite yet.
If I ever had doubts as to whether I’m a social creature or not (which I have had plenty) this fact, the need to cause a reaction in people, shows me otherwise. Do a guy a favor, whether you like what you read here (or what I email you), or you think it is totally stupid, please let me know. I have little problem handing criticism as well as praise (it’s indifference that gets me!). Either way I get a reaction. 😀