A discussion happened at work. It was about church.
“The people with kids, they want to serve their community, but they never make time for us.” I said. By ‘us,’ I was referring to people like me with no kids and single people with no kids. I call us the outsiders. “We exist on the outside of church. We don’t have kids so there’s no accidental fellowship in common church programs; you know, like their kids happen to be in the same program and two parents meet to talk and discover things in common.”
“Yep, I know.” said my friend. “They are so busy.”
The conversation went farther, but it got me really thinking.
I don’t mind being on the outside because I’m used to standing in the cold. I’m used to having to make all the effort, but at one time, I did mind being in the cold. While people stood in groups, we were on the outside, like shadows, shrinking as we left church. I remember trying to squeeze into the cliques, to start conversations, and friendships, but it felt like I was not welcome.
Community takes extra effort and it takes being “available” when God calls us to serve.
S.M. and I are like single people as married people without kids. We relate to single people and most older retired adults, but single people can’t relate to being married. It makes our groups unique. I’m busy. S.M. is busy, and all the single people I know are busy. I try to be understanding with my friends who are parents. They have a lot on their plate, but I wonder if they realize the best community they can serve is among each other first, sitting with people they have yet to meet, and making a real effort at community within the church? Maybe my area is unique?
The women’s groups in our area have mostly Senior Adults and very rarely people younger.
Sometimes, it sure would be nice to experience the sense of community I see online–large photo groups of women eating out, but only taking it one step further–Women OF ALL AGES hanging out with other women, creating community.
But it’s like everyone is waiting for someone else to do this. I’m standing with the outsiders and we’re looking in. We have each other.
Another single friend once complained, “Why am I always the one inviting?”