Margaret laughed to herself as she stood solo among the group of women. Her laugh was not one of happiness but one of mockery at herself and those around her. They didn’t even see her. They didn’t notice she had worn the same outfit for the last three weeks. They didn’t observe her as she lingered by herself each time she had come.
Margaret was new to the area and decided to visit a few local churches and bible studies before she landed on one. But it all seemed to turn out the same everywhere she went, no one noticed her. She was shy and introverted and it was hard for her to be the first to start a conversation with someone. “Why oh why, doesn’t someone talk to me?” she thought to herself, feeling awkward as she poured a cup of coffee in the entry way.
Have you ever found yourself in this situation? Have you ever gone somewhere and feel absolutely invisible?
My son started a new school a few years ago and I found myself in a similar situation. As I attended the PTA meeting for the first time I looked around the room, not knowing a soul. As I continued glancing around, I noticed I wasn’t the only one by myself. There were other women who appeared not to know anyone either. Each one, standing or sitting alone, pretending to be comfortable, yet not looking upward or outward, but tending more to her refreshments than having to seem comfortable in this most obviously, uncomfortable situation. Except for the loners, everyone else was talking and laughing in groups of two’s and three’s, unaware that there were isolated women in the room, oblivious, in fact.
Recently I had a conversation with Margaret and she was reminiscing with me about the time she felt so alone in that room full of women. She said she actually wore the same outfit on purpose for those few weeks in a row, just to prove to herself that it just didn’t matter because no one remembered her anyway.
How does it happen that we become so involved with ourselves that we forget about others in the room who might be new or lonely? I think about the times when I really don’t want to go somewhere because I’ve been to that meeting so many times before, or because I just don’t feel like it, or because I’m so caught up with my hair or outfit not being just so, and the list goes on and on. And then I think about Margaret’s story. I wonder, “Am I so caught up with what’s going on with me that I forget that it’s not all about me?” That maybe God wants me to go to that particular meeting because a “Margaret” might be there? Perhaps the meeting, the bible study or my child’s school party isn’t all about the girlfriends I already know but about reaching out to someone who needs a welcoming friend.
I challenge you to look beyond yourself this week. Wherever you go, look around the room and find someone who is by herself. Walk up to her and introduce yourself. Ask her some questions about how long she’s been coming and how you might help her find her way in that particular situation. She may be just the assignment God has for you today.
Let your inner beauty shine, girlfriends.