I was talking with a friend who had started in a new church about a year ago, around the same time we started at our church. I was telling her about the Service to Others Committee, and how I like everyone working on it, we were all kind of nerds, my favorite kind of people.
She looked a little down, and told me it seemed to be taking some time for her to find her niche in the church, and so I had to share with her my cat theory.
When you bring a new cat into a house where you already have a cat, you have to keep them separated for a while. You put the new cat in a separate room, with separate feeding dishes and litter box. Even so, the original cat is going to be a little wary. He can smell the new cat, it is something new and something strange, and it makes him uneasy.
People, it seems to me, are a little the same way, especially people who are settled. When a new person comes in, it just won’t do to try to be accepted. You just have to come in quietly, don’t intrude, let people get used to you. Little by little, people reach out to you. It can be discouragingly slow. If you have patience, it pays off.
Sometimes, rarely, but sometimes, you meet someone with a widely accepting outlook, and this time, I was lucky, I met a friend at the church who is just so full of life she bubbles with it. She makes things happen. She doesn’t have time for gossip or negative thoughts, and if you are willing to help, that’s good enough for her. She is organized and she is busy, and I feel really lucky to be her friend.
Slowly, people are starting to realize we are not visitors at the church, but here to stay, and are reaching out to greet us. It’s a good feeling.
Tomorrow, we have our first of two sets of house guests arriving. When our first guest leaves, I have 18 hours to get the room and bathroom cleaned, clean sheets on the bed, etc. They are all really good friends, very old friends, and all coming to escape the chill of a seemingly endless winter and enjoy a little sunshine. If you don’t hear much from me, it’s because I’m out playing.