So, we live in Chattanooga now. Maybe you hadn't heard, but we loaded up the truck and moved to Lookout Mountain about six weeks ago. Matt's got a new job, we've got a new little (953 square feet, to be exact) rental house, a new church, a few new friends, etc. What I'm also noticing is that, in the midst of all this newness, I feel new. Not the shiny, my-shirt-still-smells-like-the-Gap kind of new. No, I'm feeling more like the new kid in middle school who doesn't know anybody and hasn't figured out where to sit in the lunchroom. I'm 32 years old. Why do I feel like the awkward new kid who's still wearing crimped hair when everyone else has gone straight? I thought I was over that whole thing, but it turns out I'm not.
However, in the midst of all this newness that feels so uncomfortable at times, something happened yesterday that amounted to having the cool kid at school high five me in the lunchroom. It's not that big of a deal really, but I keep thinking about it and wondering why it made me feel less like an awkward middle-schooler and more like a new outfit from the Gap.
The pastor of a church we've visited a few times saw me at a restaurant having lunch with my parents and came over to say hello. I didn't recognize him at first or even remember his name. I chalk this up to being more than a little distracted by my eleven month old progeny during church services these days. The thing about this encounter that really struck me was that the pastor, whom I had met once, actually remembered my name. I've dated guys who've had trouble doing that, so this felt significant.
Something about that little encounter at Guthries over sweet potato fries and chicken fingers was a turning point. I was at that pastor's church again this morning feeling a teensy bit more like I belonged there. And while I sat there, sans Matt who was hanging out in the back with Sam and the other pew-jumping toddlers, I thought about the weight of having my name remembered. I don't think I'd realized how much I've missed being around folks who know me and like me and want to meet me for lunch at Chic-fil-a.
I miss Knoxville and all the folks there who know my name really well, but I'm glad we're here on the mountain now and I'm glad there's a chance to be new again. It's interesting doing this with a baby and having a new identity as a mom to go along with being new in general. But, there's a boatload of possibility and I'm wondering who will invite us into their lives here and who will become a part of our family's story.
We're off to visit a small group tonight in about half an hour and I'm anticipating some major small talk and a few awkward pauses, but I'm also betting there might be a potential friend or two there which makes all that awkwardness worth it. I've decided to just embrace being the new kid at school (or on the block, if you'd rather) and just be honest about needing some friends. Hm. Maybe I could also bribe them with the cookies I just made.
I think I might crimp my hair before I go.