But it started me thinking. How would others describe me?
Of all the adjectives available, I think most people in my life would describe me as "nice".
Such a sterile and dimensionless word. Even at its greatest, it only becomes "so nice". It's like saying a dinner roll is round. Goshdarnit, it's a very round dinner roll.
I guess this concerns me, because I don't even know what adjectives describe myself. I've actually spent a good part of my life trying very hard to be a nice person. And look, here I am!
"Nice" is also upsetting, because it's really not a descriptor at all. It's the attitude I put on to cover up frustration. It's the congeniality I portray when I actually just want to be left alone. It's the stuff that passive-aggressive, overwhelmed introverts like me exude.
Being "nice" means I don't trust others to be genuinely interested in who I really am. But it also allows me to politely greet and dismiss others, without being interested in who they are either.
I'm reminded of a movement that began in the Catholic Church during World War II called Focolare (hearth or fireplace). Its members have a remarkable charism for living present in each moment, and their warmth and attentiveness is striking.
I'll pray for this same grace, as I try to shake off my "niceness."