So, if this is your first time reading this blog, you should probably read the post that precedes this one. Otherwise what you're about to read probably won't make much sense. Also, if you don't happen to be quite familiar with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you might want to skip this entry all together. I usually try not to use to much "Mormon vernacular" in these posts, but there's a whole bunch in this one.
Eric and I met in a singles ward. At the time we left that ward, I'd been a member of it for just over two and a half years. When I joined that particular ward, it was the easiest transition I had ever made. By the time I actually officially joined, I'd been attending ward activities, Family Home Evening, Enrichment Meeting, and even singing in the ward choir on occasion, all for over a year. As you might guess, actually moving my membership record and becoming a bona-fide member of the ward was easy as pie. I had friends galore, and immediately felt like I had a place and belonged.
(Why do we say "easy as pie"? Have you ever tried to make pie crust? I have. There is nothing easy about it!)
Before I joined the singles ward, I was in a family ward for over three years. I LOVED it. It reminded me of my parents' ward in Cedar City, the ward I grew up in. I had faithful, thoughtful, go-the-extra-mile home teachers AND visiting teachers. I had callings that I loved (Young Women Secretary, Laurel Advisor, Primary Chorister)(I was also assistant camp director and camp director once each, and I didn't love either of those so much). I felt surrounded by fun, quirky, good-hearted, lovable people of all ages and life situations. I was so happy there that when Heidi (who was already attending the singles ward) wanted us to move from our apartment complex, I stalled her for about a year, just so I could keep attending church with these people.
In fact, I made so many good, true friendships in that ward that when Eric and I married, (two and half years after I moved, remember), at least 50 or so of them came to our reception and stood in line for 30 to 60 minutes, just so they could shake our hands (or get a hug), and eat a piece of pie. Amazing.
Well as it turns out, in addition to having an overactive (some might say hyperactive) imagination, it appears I also suffer from selective amnesia.
Two days ago, I was reading in my journal. I read some entries that I had written back in say, 2000 or so, which was coincidentally the time that I had just started attending this new family ward. Lest you forget, this is the ward which ended up being full of all those great reception-standing, pie-eating, (wedding-gift-giving) people.
I didn't feel like I fit in there. I felt like I was hopelessly different from all those people, that they didn't understand me, and that I probably would never be able to understand them. I felt isolated and alone.
Funny how that works, huh?
Monday night I went for a jog/walk around the neighborhood. As I saw people that I vaguely recognized (but couldn't remember or haven't learned their names), I waved and smiled, rather than pretending I didn't see them. This morning as I left for work, I saw a female neighbor out on her front porch with one or two of her children. I don't know their names, and I was late, so I didn't run over and start a conversation right then. But I waved, and she waved back.
And I feel better. Much much better.
(p.s.--Happy independence to you all! I've been re-reading the Constitution in honor of the season. If you can find about 30 minutes or so, it's really quite a good use of that time. Or you can do it like I am, and read for 5-10 minutes 4-6 times.)
(okay, now I'm really signing off.)