Sometimes love and belonging take time. One example is found here in the desert. Anyone who’e been here a while knows I spill out a lot of love here on the blog about “my” desert.
But truth be told, it hasn’t always been “mine.”
At first it was foreign to me. I didn’t feel like I belonged. We moved here from the never-ending greens and trees that filled up the spot we called home for six years on the East coast.
In contrast, this new desert life was dry and brown. Where was my green? Where were the wild flowers and the rustling giant trees, and the grass that didn’t even need sprinklers?
But as time went on and we immersed ourselves in the desert, I noticed things. The way the cacti shone in the slanted sun. The swishing noise the dry grasses made as they swayed in the breeze. Hills filled with saguaros called to me. The brilliant blue sky in contrast to the craggy rocks. The blooms that emerge from dry, prickly cacti in the spring. The sunsets! Oh those sunsets!
Gradually, I fell in love with each drop of beauty. It became breathtaking to me as it wove it’s way into my heart. I cannot even seem to get enough of all the desert beauty cradling us here.
A new ward and an early hike
So fast-forward to a couple weeks ago when a few of us from our new ward (church congregation) gathered early one morning to head out on a hike.
This new ward, like the new desert landscape all those years ago, has seemed foreign to me. Sure, there are so many familiar faces I know and love since our wards have changed quite a bit over the years. But as we made the transition from our old ward to the new one, I’ve had some of my own adjustments to make.
Just like I did moving to the desert.
Where were all those people I had dug roots with? Where was that sense of belonging I felt enveloped in so fully after so many years worshipping with the same people? There are strong bonds that can be made when you attend church together.
It has been tricky to have a ward change right before the summer. Because summer in the desert is like a ghost town around here. Either people have hopped out of town to escape the heat, or they are hunkered down in air conditioned homes.
Take time to notice the good
But, just like in my new desert surroundings all those years ago, I’ve been noticing things. The kindness as people have reached out. The wisdom I have felt seep out of those more seasoned members of our ward. The big ideas. The faith.
And as I have noticed the good, I have gradually grown so much love for these new people. I’ve been reminded that yes, sometimes love and belonging takes time.
I’m here for it!
As I work to reach out more to those around me, it’s like that sun coming up behind the mountains on the morning of our hike.
It is not a cakewalk to learn to love something new. Learning to belong and love takes time and attention.
It takes noticing the beauty.
It takes reaching out, sometimes, (most of the time), beyond your comfort zone.
But oh how beautiful the vistas become!
I loved being cradled in that desert that has become my love, surrounded by those new ward women.
I have so much to learn from all these new (and old) friends.
Remember, sometimes love and belonging takes time
I know so many readers are deep in the throes of their own “new deserts” out there. It could be a new job, a new home, a new parenting challenge, failing health.
There are “deserts” of every shape and form out there.
But my wish for you is to slow down and take note. Notice the good in that new “desert” you find yourself in.
And be patient with yourself, and with others. Remember that truly learning to appreciate “new” good can take a long, long time.
But I truly believe it will come.
Because we “find what we’re looking for.”
Sending out so much love in whichever desert you find yourself in today.