Have you ever felt completely out of place? Have you ever come into a group of people or a gathering that you realize too late was not what you were expecting? This is my experience:
When I stepped into the room, I took a moment to just take everyone in. Quickly scanning for anyone remotely around my age I decided I was not only the minority, but also completely out of place. My mind raced with questions like 'Why did I come?' and 'Wasn't this a bad idea?'. Being welcomed and directed to a table, I had no choice but to endure the 90 minutes, while judgmental and 'woe is me' thoughts were running through my head full circle. Conversations of hot flashes began around me and even more I sunk into my chair hoping to disappear.
As the morning went on my anxiety and discomfort began to subside. I decided that I had a choice. I could choose to continue my negative attitude and leave with only discouragement and despair OR I could choose to embrace the moment I was it. We always have a choice in our attitudes -- this is what changes any situation we may be in.
I decided to embrace it.
I looked at the group of ladies surrounding me and saw their intent, beautiful faces filled with readiness. I felt a sense of peace. While there may not be a lady close to my age and while their walks of life may look quite different from mine at the moment, these ladies were welcoming, loving and examples of Christ right in front of me. Instead of seeing this right away I was blinded by my own judgments and insecurities. I let myself be blinded by putting myself above anyone else.
I left that morning, feeling refreshed, renewed, and excited to grow in relationships with these women - these women who are so much wiser and stronger than me and who I can learn so much from. I could have easily wasted this opportunity and I was very close to doing so.
In fact, in a bigger way I think I did waste a great opportunity. I did not go back to meet with those women. My excuses included a sick baby, nap schedule, and busyness. But in reality, deep down - in the back of my mind and the depths of my heart, I know that it was my worry and my anxiety that held me back. I let the uncomfortable situation overcome what could have been. I could have grown in relationships, I could have grown in so many other ways, and I could have reached out to someone else. While nothing bad came from me choosing to not go back, nothing good came from it either.
No matter their age, their status, their stage of life, their job, their appearance, their hobbies... there can still be a way to relate, to learn, and ultimately to simply love on each other. Friends are not meant to be cookie cut. Friends come in all shapes and sizes - and this is a beautiful thing. Don't be like me and let your fears take over from what could be great.