When I was pregnant with Goosey my two best friends moved away within two months of each other. Their husbands had finished the degrees they had been working on and moved on to full-time jobs. I missed them so much.
A few months later I woke up on a Sunday morning, especially missing them since we had all attended the same church congregation. That morning, and throughout the worship service, I had a prayer in my heart that someone would reach out to me that day. I needed a friend.
I'm sad to say that no one did. No one asked how I was, said hello, or even smiled at me. And that hasn't been the only time.
We've moved quite a few times and nearly all of those moves have been challenging due to a lack of welcoming from those around us. In fact, one church congregation we attended prided itself on being the "friendly" congregation in the area, which we have always found quite ironic because only one family made an effort to include and get to know us.
I'm a little older, more experienced and confident now than I was in each of those cases. But I still remember how it felt. So I make the effort. I'm the one who says hello and welcomes. I'm the one who invites people to dinner. I'm the crazy lady who smiles at everyone in the grocery store because you never know who might need a smile that day and the difference it can make.