due to my position at church i have access to people’s feelings and concerns. women approach me when they are in need, are frustrated or want me to take action. something that i did not expect is an overwhelming sentiment spanning the divide of age and position. it is loneliness. so many perceive they do not belong. they assume everyone else is happily connected without them.
part of perception is that even if it is false, if that is how the individual perceives reality, than to them, it is truth.
among these determinations is the unhelpful need to categorize. when we categorize we shut ourselves off to opportunities. and friendships.
unsurprisingly – almost everyone seems to feel as if they do not quite fit in. converts. young mothers. mothers of teens. child-less women. single women. divorced women. empty nesters. grandmothers. women with inactive or non-member family members.
i have felt this throughout our marriage. the first few years we were outsiders in a heavily student ward in seattle. it was amusing to see people try to figure out why we were in seattle and how to categorize us, no children, graduated from school, late 20s, not from the pacific northwest… you could almost see the steam rise as their brains did not compute.
our move to the suburbs brought confusion since everyone assumed we were in our early 20s. everyone our age had on average three children. some were even teenagers. despite those differences we made excellent friends.
and then things shifted when we had asher.
it has been an interesting past year socially.
having a first baby in your late 30s is complicated. do i belong to the young new mom group? or is my group those who are my age but are done having kids and gearing up for the tween years? or is my group those slightly older than me with teenagers?
finding a new balance has been tricky. the truth is i don’t feel like i belong to any one group because i have friends within each. maybe that is how it should be. the pre-set groups are more confining than inviting. we should be open to wherever we can serve, or love or befriend.
anna begins by counting crows