Being in-transit gives everyone the grumpy face. That’s all there is to it.
When I lived in Florence, SC, my hometown and a small town of about 45,000 people, we Florentinians used to talk about how Florence was a revolving door type of town, especially for people aged 18-30. People came, stayed a season, and then left again. As a long-time member of the Florence community, the revolving door made things difficult. I always took forever to get to know someone, as I am often tongue-tied and awkward with new people. By the time I would start to really love that person and let all of my walls and insecurities down, they would get married and move or get a job and move.
So when it came time for me to leave for grad. school, I was shocked to become the in-transit one. I had never been away from home for a long period of time. It was all new. I moved to Clemson for two years, two different houses, and exited just as so many had done before.
Then I was in Charlotte, a new town, a new job, a marriage, and life began again. I entered the revolving door and popped out a new person, and I was happy and joyful and stressed.
I didn’t realize I was stressed at the time, but five months later my hair started falling out. Not all over the place and not in a week, but in a month or so, I had a 2″x 3″ bald spot on the back of my head (it was during this time I became thankful for the first time in my life that I have tons of thick hair). You can ask a few of my friends. It was pretty a pretty substantial hole on the back of my head.
It’s not there any more. My hair grew back – steroid shots to my scalp and some intense self-control and fear of messing with my head + 1.5 years = back to normal. That isn’t the end point of my story, though.
The end point is that I didn’t realize I was stressed out. I didn’t realize transition is hard. Not having local, close friends is hard. Being new in town and introverted is hard. Being busy working in a new town is hard, especially when your job only requires you to interact with students. Getting to know people is hard.
I’m not saying this to make me sound like I made it through something difficult. This is nothing compared to so many people’s lives. I’m saying this to encourage you. Give yourself time, grace, and an excuse to get out of your box and meet new people. Don’t find yourself crying into your pillow because you are lonely, and your talkative and outgoing husband has already hung out with many more people than you have spoken to. I did this – it isn’t fun.
Give yourself TIME – 3 years in, I’m finally realizing how much I love and am thankful for my Charlotte community.
Give yourself SPACE – to cry, to be alone, to immerse yourself in a crowd of strangers, to talk to someone new.
Give yourself GRACE – to realize it’s not easy, you don’t have to have it all together quite yet, and it takes time to feel at home.
Our church is planting a new baby church plant. Friends are moving away. New ones are moving here. People are having babies and getting new jobs. We are always changing. Don’t let the stress get to you. One day soon you will be the one welcoming the new comers and crying tears of nostalgia when old friends move on.
This is not our eternal home.
We are all in transit, in flux.