Being a college student, classes started over two weeks ago for me. The halcyon bliss of summer seems long gone and my routine is back in full swing. It’s busy, but it’s comfortable; it’s what I know–the school I know, the job I know, the roommates and friends and home I know. In fact, I’ve adapted so quickly to this town that I fleetingly forget that just one year ago I was in a place where I knew practically nothing. Nothing was familiar, a condition that is truly shocking especially if one has never experienced it. I knew what was happening on a Friday night about as well as I knew how to find spices in the local grocery store. I had just moved to Wyoming; I was lost, alone, and very uncomfortable.
I remember one day, soon after I moved here. It was one of the first shifts at my job–a place that was truly my haven for awhile as it gave me something to do other than sit on my bed contemplating how few friends I had within a thousand mile radius. One of my new coworkers came in, introduced herself, and talked to me.
She asked me why I had moved here, what things I liked to do, how I was adjusting. Just that was enough to make my day a little better, but then she did something I’ll likely never forget.
She asked me if I wanted to grab some dinner with her after work.
You’re probably laughing to yourself right now, wondering why I had such a dramatic buildup to a somewhat mundane statement. And that is exactly the point of this story. Taking a couple hours out of your normal life to help someone out can mean the world to them and you may never even know it. A couple hours to make someone else feel a little bit noticed.
It’s almost embarrassing thinking back on how excited I was to go out and eat with her that night. To actually talk to someone other than my mom or a customer or a friend on the phone for the first time in a month. We never hung out again after that, but I will always appreciate the kindness she extended to me that day though I’m sure it hardly phased her.
It is only when we are most lonely that we realize how involved everyone else is with their own lives. And this isn’t just being physically new somewhere; in talking to others I’ve startlingly began to understand just how many lonely people there are around me, despite how fulfilled their lives look to the outsider.
I’ve moved many times in my life; I’ve discovered through experience that it’s more of an opportunity than a sentence. But no matter what, those first few months are just plain tough. It’s the kindness of people who take a second to step out of their comfort zones and welcome me that makes it okay, even if just for an hour or two.
It’s a message so “cliche”, so simple, something we brush off and forget to actually heed.
Be kind. Be a friend.
Cover photo found here.