Here I am, four in the morning, wide awake since 1:30. I thought I'd jot down some random and probably useless thoughts I had while washing the dishes (don't worry, the whole three hours thus far has not been that productive!).
Well, maybe it's just me, but I have the tendency to stick to my comfort zone a little too much, particularly in human relationships. Take, for example, my college years. I was fortunate enough to have two very close friends since 7th grade join me at school my first semester. Naturally I spent all my time with them and all of their new friends. Because they were boys, they left me alone the next semester as they began their mission service. And there I was, suddenly and completely friendless. I hadn't taken any time to make my own new friends and I barely even knew my roommates. It was a lonely time for me as everyone else seemed to have their little groups already and didn't seem to notice mine had left. Funny how we seem to stick to our comfortable group and can inadvertently exclude others.
Needless to say, the next year I moved apartments to a cheaper place and met a little friendlier crowd. I was also lucky enough to have my best friend of all time from back home live with me for a semester and this time was one of the happiest times of my life! I was much better at socializing on my own and so even when my friend left the next semester, I had a good year.
My third and final year was a challenge. Besides some emotional struggles making it difficult to be social, I was also student teaching and thus was never on campus and rarely associated with other students my age. Somehow I managed to get a boyfriend, which was good in the sense that I could have friends through him. It was harmful because once again I got stuck in a comfort zone leeching my life from others instead of creating my own.
This pattern has continued in my life as it seems like a lesson I am doomed to keep learning. When my husband and I moved far away from family, we were blessed to locate not only in the same ward, but also the same neighborhood as a good friend of Lee's from high school (outside of Utah, "ward" and "neighborhood" are not synonymous!). This made our transition much easier. Unfortunately, we took advantage of the immediate friendship and didn't branch out too deeply. When these friends abandoned us for higher education, we found ourselves a little shallow in other friendships around us. Luckily, the Lord is generous and knows and loves us despite our weaknesses. About this time he sent a friend of mine from school with his family nearby, though this time with a little more distance so we would still have to find some connections a little closer. I am grateful to say that we are slowly but surely branching out of our comfort zone and building stronger relationships with new people around us.
The moral of this story is simply that it is good to leave our comfort zone. It is good to connect on a deeper level with new people. It is also important not to get so comfortable in our little groups to forget to see who else is searching for a connection. And last, but perhaps most important, the Lord does know us and love us and He will bless us with what we want as well as gently prod us to find what we need. And He'll do it over and over until we get it.