I remember the moment well. I walked into the high school gym and scanned the bleachers for a seat. Before me was a sea of faces, most I knew, because in any small town everyone knows everyone, if not personally, well…I knew who their sister was, or I knew that she was the checker at the grocery store. But at the moment, I felt so small…before me was a packed auditorium, and I couldn’t find one place to fit it. Everyone in front of me had groups of family, or friends, and I was on the outside looking in. I was a single mom, with all kinds of superficial friends, but where did I really fit in?
I’ve felt that feeling again, recently. Although I’m no longer single, and 15 years have passed. I don’t know many people yet in this small town, but I remember that moment, I know this feeling…I am on the outside looking in.
I look into this large group of people who I can see have a warm loving family, I can tell that they are nice people, but I watch from the outside of this group and don’t receive any invites to be a part. In the place that I’ve gone, being assured that they seek new friendship, not one person is reaching out to me.
Truth is…the shoe has usually been on the other foot. I have most times been a part of the “inside”. And now I ask myself the question, “who did I leave out?, who did I not notice?, who needed a friend and I ignored because I wasn’t looking, or even worse because I felt uncomfortable approaching a stranger?” ” Who was the person on the outside seeking to be a part, seeking to connect with someone? ”
Look around. Do you know of a recently divorced person, a college student away from home, a widower, someone new to your area, a parent with an empty nest? Do you know someone who has remained single, who has no children? Do you know of a single mom, a disabled homebound person, a teenager who needs your attention?
People need people. People need connections. And there are people all around you just wanting a place to fit in. All it takes is a handshake, a smile, an invitation-“would you like to join me”. All it takes is reaching out and showing sincere interest in someone else.
I’m on the “outside looking in”, and I wish that someone on the “inside”, would take the time to look at me and invite me in. How many people have you left out?
Love and Blessings.