Thursday, October 4, 2012

31 Days to Shine :: Day 4, to belong

fall in our house 10
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


  1. This is beautiful. We have been in our new city for a year, and finally (finally!) I am starting to feel like I belong. But for four years before this, I lived somewhere I never belonged and never felt accepted. That was tough, and I don't ever want to go through that again or watch someone else struggle in that way. I wish I'd had the courage to start a mom's group or something similar, because I think it would have changed everything.

  2. i love love love this. i love your generous heart. i feel the same exact way and know exactly what you are thinking and feeling. when i was new to this town, everyone already had their friend groups and weren't exactly taking friend applications lol. i felt so terrible but thankful that i knew what it felt like, so that i will always always reach out to someone new. and sometimes it's still hard and it blows up on my face. but i will take the risk again and again, just in case there is that someone...looking...searching for a friendly face. and i hope to be that face.

  3. It's so hard to feel so alone. Not a feeling I enjoy at all so whenever I can I try and reach out to others and be that friendly face. Someone did it for me and it's my turn to give back. I enjoyed reading your post today and thank you for reminding me how important a smile can be!

  4. Thank you for the reminder. I have lived in my town for almost 7 years and it was really just a year or two ago that I finally felt like not wanting to pack up and move back to my hometown in an instant. I feel at home now and love it here but I know exactly how that felt.

  5. This is beautifully written and I so understand this scenario. I'm still not at home in my town but I try to make the best of it for now. Love your courage in reaching out to others.

    Can I just say I love fellow non-coffee drinkers!

  6. This is such a wonderful post. I finally feel like I am starting to fit in here. After seven years! It's so hard to reach out, and you've done it so wonderfully! What an inspiration.

  7. This is so true. I have been on both sides of this fence and it is very hard to not feel connected!

  8. ooooh. this is good. very good.
    i am NOT good at this.
    at making friends.
    at putting myself out there.
    thanks so much for the challenge and encouragement, Rach!



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