I went to an elementary school where we had a great deal of freedom in our desk space. I don't know if this was true in other places, but we regularly moved our desks around and formed little groups of 3-4. It was fun, but a bit of a social nightmare. I mean, what better way to shun someone than to not invite them to be part of the new configuration? I remember my friend Jenny and I moving our two desks off by ourselves once. We felt conspiratorial. I can't imagine how hard it would have been for a new kid to walk into that classroom.
Moving to a new place feels a little bit like that, minus the intentional shunning (which is a huge bonus). Every time I've moved somewhere, even when I moved back to China from Singapore, to relationships with people I already knew, there was the question, "Is there room for me?"
Because I get it - people are busy, relational energy is limited, the space I used to fill has been filled with other things. It can be hard to make room for someone new, no matter how much you enjoy them.
There's an energy in me that gets stirred up, maybe more than in other people, by situations like this. I want to be picked. I want to be worth someone shifting their desks around to make space for me. And once I get there, that energy will push me to prove to you that you made a good choice.
I know that to develop friendships here I will most likely need to take the initiative. I don't mind much - I am an initiative taker in general. Also, being an introvert, I'm not looking for a lot of people. But at times initiating wars with that energy in me. I know I could ask to be in your desk cluster. But it feels SO much better to be asked.
Last Friday I came home from my morning group feeling a little raw - a good kind of raw, because I was able to share with them some of the recent transition grief I've been feeling (ladies, you know who you are and you ROCK). I started contemplating the weekend, the long 3 day weekend with two kids and no daddy buffer, and I thought, "Lord Almighty, if I have to initiate to be with people this weekend I think it might just do me in. I mean, no seriously, God, I do not think I can do it."
And lo and behold, when I got home there was an email inviting us to join many others at the beach on Saturday. God loves me.
It may seem like a small thing, but for those of us who are new in town, it's big. I know that over time, we will find our desk space. Thank you to those who are making room for us!