The Secret to Making Friends

How toilet paper and tears led me to overcome my fears
The Secret to Making Friends

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.

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Sherry Surratt

Sherry Surratt is the Director of Parenting Strategy for Orange Family Ministry. She is the former CEO of MOPS International and the author of several books, including Brave Mom, Beautiful Mess, and Just Lead. You can connect with her online at or follow her on Twitter at @SherrySurratt.

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