Toilet paper doesn't usually make me cry. But it did the day I found myself standing in a new grocery store, in a new neighborhood, in a state halfway across the country from where my husband and I had lived for 14 years. I just ran to the store for a few things, and as I reached out to grab our usual brand of tissue, I realized it wasn't there.
What in the world?
I had bought this same brand, in the same economy pack, for years. How could it not be there?
Then I remembered. This wasn't my usual store. I was in a whole new world.
I was sure the people here must also have need for toilet paper, but their packages looked different than what I was used to. In fact, as I looked around, everything looked different. My grocery store had the small, handy-sized carts that were so easy to push while the ones at this store were big and bulky. My store stocked the store items in an order that made sense. This store had it all wrong.
My eyes filled with tears.
Oh, for crying out loud, get it together, sister! I thought to myself. I knew this was certainly nothing to cry about, but the truth was, I was lonely. I needed a friend—someone close by that I could wrap my arms around and that would wrap their arms around me. I needed to feel like people knew me, and see that glimmer of recognition when they saw my face and knew my name. It had been two months since my husband and I had made the move to the West from South Carolina, but still nothing felt like home. It had been almost impossible to leave our son, daughter-in-love, and beautiful brand-new grandbaby. It was painful to leave so many wonderful friends that knew our quirks but loved us anyway, who stayed up too late with us playing card games and telling stories that only we thought were funny. We missed our church.
But our brand new church was wonderful, and full of wonderful people. It seemed the best place to start. So when the pastor up front gave us a chance to greet the people around us, I decided to make my move.
There was a row of women sitting right in front of me, so I chose one of them, laid my hand on her shoulder and with my best southern smile said, "Good Morning!" She looked at me blankly, turned back to the lady seated beside her and continued with her conversation. I felt like I had been slapped.
I wish I could say it didn't bother me, but it did. I told myself she wasn't trying to be mean, and that surely I had just caught her on an off day, or in a busy moment. But I sat down with a hurt heart. And as I sat there, admittedly feeling sorry for myself, I realized I had a choice. I could sit in my misery and feel sorry for myself, but was that going to get me out of my loneliness? It didn't feel like it. I swallowed hard, and decided to keep trying.