Sunday, August 24, 2014

It's hard being new

We have had a lot of children move into our ward in the recent past.  It is truly an answer to prayers.  As we watched our ward age and our youth dwindle, we prayed for more youth and primary children to move in.  And they have!  But it's not easy being new.

Today in Primary the pain of no friends, not knowing anyone's name, and wishing you could just go back home was too much for one girl and the tears spilled over.

I took her to the hall and hugged her and let her tell me how hard it is.  And I just agreed.  It's hard.  Even though we have lived in our ward and our house for 12 years, I remember like it was yesterday how hard it was to be new.

The first couple of weeks in Relief Society were OK.  But I needed and wanted friends who were also young moms.  I spotted where they sat--together on the right side of the room.  So the next week, I sat on the right.  All the young moms came in and sat on the left.  In fact, no one else even sat on my row.

The next week I sat on the left and all the young moms sat together on the right.

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I gave up hoping anyone my age/situation would sit with me and sat in the middle of the middle section in the Relief Society room.  Thankfully, some people sat on my row, but the closest they got was three seats away.  I felt like I had leprosy.  "Why," I wondered, "would no one sit by me?"

The next week I tried not to get to Relief Society so early.  I went to the bathroom after Sunday School and hoped that I could sit by someone even if no one would sit by me.

When I came in the Relief Society room, I smiled.  I said hello.  I sat down on the back row, since the back row was always, always full. The women I had greeted moved away.   And I wasn't sitting within 5 seats of anyone else.  Just like our Primary child, I looked in my lap and started to tear up.  I planned an escape to the bathroom, where I didn't know how long I would stay there or what I would do next.

Just then, a woman sat down right next to me.  The seat exactly to my left.  She said hi and asked me how I was doing.  We chatted a little and I managed to keep the tears from spilling over, at least mostly.

I was flooded with such relief that I didn't have to be alone anymore.  Her name is Karen Martinez and shortly after, she was assigned as my visiting teacher.  I cannot express the encouragement and hope I received from this new friend.

Even as I write, the tears spill over remembering the pain of newness and the gratitude when I'd finally found a friend.

Tonight I'll be praying for one Primary child in particular and hoping that the girls around her will be her friend.


carol said...

Still hard to be new after 4 years! Especially when people bear their testimony about the wonderful ward family of 20-25-30 years! (Your blog comes to me on a reader if you wonder why I am commenting (too?) often-not stalking-promise!)

Jenna Wood said...

I love that you read it, Carol! I roll my eyes now about the long timers who have to talk about how long they've been in the ward and call out their friends. I guess you and I can just commit that we won't do that.