Two years ago we pulled into this tiny town in our rattly red Ford Taurus not knowing a single person. Not a one.
I spent that first year here living long days in our blue carpeted rental, desperately trying to feel at home. To find my people. To reach out. To build relationships.
My heart longed to have face to face conversations that went beyond the polite how are you? I'd push the shopping cart through the aisles and hope to lock eyes with a familiar face. Library story time was spent scanning the room for a kind smile. You can bet I'd give my right arm for an invitation for coffee. And I don't even drink the stuff.
All I wanted was to belong.
Because not belonging? Is hard. Lonely. Scary.
And it's humbling. Especially for a girl who had spent her entire life surrounded by dear friends. Never the new girl, never the outsider.
This outsider is starting to feel like she belongs. And now I'm the one diving in to reach out to others.
On a bit of a whim last year, I started a weekly moms group at our church. I wondered if anyone would show up or if it would be me all alone twiddling my thumbs. It has turned out to be a mixed bag of sorts - some weeks they come in droves and other weeks it's me and one other. Today was the latter.
She was new to the group and new to town. We chatted and laughed and swapped stories for two hours while kiddos played at our feet. When she left she thanked me again and again for hosting this group. I've been searching for something like this. You made my day she said. And I knew exactly what she meant.
So I'll keep showing up and reaching out. Even if it means setting everything up and then no one else showing. Because someone might. And it might just be their ticket to belonging.
Today, friends, I would love for you to take that first step. Share your smile freely. Seek her out and wave her over to sit with you. Compliment her scarf. Ask her questions and listen to her story. Meet her for coffee or a coke. Tell her you're so happy to know her and mean it.
There is always someone looking to belong.
And there is room enough for everyone.
Shine on, you lovely people.
*To read the rest of the series, go here.