I didn't really want to go, but I knew I should. Even knowing I should make the effort, I immediately began to make excuses. I did not have the right thing to wear--my closet-though stuffed-was filled with all the wrong things. Of course, it would also require effort on getting ready to make an appearance. I could not go without adequate preparation. A little make up and some effort to make my hair half way decent were a must. I kept thinking, this is so much trouble--it would be easier to stay at home--all alone.
Slowly I began to half way get it together, all the time knowing I would not look right, would stick out like a sore thumb, and others would stare. It is always mortifying to walk into a strange place where you know no one and have the entire room turn and look. Surely they all know I don't belong there, I am a stranger in their midst. Surely they know my past, and my present--all disqualifies me from entering the room. This is so hard---why am I doing this? It would be easier to be all alone.
I finally manage to get myself in my car for the short trip. The next obstacle will be parking and getting in the door. Where is the right place to park, will I be the only person walking in alone? Finally I make the trip, park the car (hopefully not in some one's permanent parking place,) and slowly walk toward the door. There are people holding the door open and they greet me as I enter in the midst of a crowd. Now to figure out which way to go. Following the crowd usually works well, but what if the crowd is going to a different event? What if I get lost? It really is easier to be all alone.
Finally I enter the room where I am supposed to be. It has dim lights and people scattered throughout the room. What if I sit in the wrong spot? What if I get some one's seat? What was I thinking coming here? I take a chance and plop down in a seat toward the back of the room. Hoping to be inconspicuous, but longing for a kind word. I sit on a row of seats, with only a few joining me. Slowly the room fills, and the chatter starts. The row I have chosen slowly fills and groups of friends and families are chattering away among themselves. I sit and observe feeling absolutely all alone.
The lights dim and the music starts, perhaps when we are now focused toward the front, I will not feel so out of place. Surely if all eyes are forward I am not sticking out all alone in my spot. The introductions are brief and then we are told to greet one another. BUT I KNOW NO ONE! There is the polite "Good Morning" from those right by my side, but they quickly turn to those they are familiar with, so now everyone realizes I am all alone.
Finally we get back to the point of the meeting, and everyone is gazing toward the front. This is the most comfortable I have been since I walked through the door. Finally it is over, and I follow the crowds as they head for the exit. Plans are being made all around for being together, as I try my best to just get out the door. Bolting for my car, I slowly edge my way out of the parking lot and back to my home and the comfort within those walls. I did the right thing, I went to be with those who are like me, but do not see me. Often I suspect this is the loneliest time of the week for many--being surrounded by the good people with a common cause. A sad reminder of being alone while in a crowd was all around as I headed for home. Why make the effort, why try, when it really is easier and less painful to just be all alone.