So, the eagle eyed among you will know that recently we moved house. It was a really exciting move, away from a stressful situation, and into a new and exciting place. But with the arrival of a new school term, with my son starting in a brand new school, I was suddenly struck with how we are starting from scratch.
Starting from scratch with the neighbours.
Starting from scratch with the mums at the school gate.
Starting from scratch with different school routines.
Starting from scratch with our local places – library, post office, swimming pool.
Everything is brand new, and that means having to start all my relationships from scratch. And when I looked at having to get to know teachers, kids, parents, office staff at my sons new school this week it was all looking a bit daunting. I thought about the mums from the old school, the chatter on the school yard and the friendly welcoming faces that would have been there and I felt sad. I thought about all the teachers who I had gotten to know at the small school of 140 pupils and my heart-wrenched. I had lost my whole network.
But then today in our parents lifegroup, another mum reminded me of something. That those former relationships didn’t start up over night. Not at all. It took 4 years to get to know my neighbours like I did. It took a whole year for me to get to know the mums and teachers at the school. I cannot expect to jump back in to a place of intimacy within this new setting. Instead I should just see where things go. Let things start organically rather than forcing things to be like they were.
So I will start off with chatting to the neighbours I see out on the street. I will start off with trying to smile at some of the parents in the yard. I will seek out new opportunities to get to know people – such as joining the library and going along to the school church for its coffee morning for new parents on the first day of school (what a great idea!). I don’t need to be super confident or even to look at ways to “do mission” here yet. I just need to get to know people. In my own time and my way. That is a very relieving and releasing thing to realise.