A few weeks ago, I attended an event where I didn't know a soul. As I am a shy creature by nature, there was was a great deal of anxiety leading up to the meeting. I checked and re-checked the announcement to make sure I got the date and time correct. I verified the address and printed off a map with step-by-step directions. Even on the day of the event, a little voice in my head kept saying, "Are you sure you want to go? Wouldn't you rather just stay home?"
Frankly, Yes! I would rather stay home. But the drive to connect with other writers was stronger than my doubts. Here I am in my mid-sixties and I am still wondering when I enter a new situation, "Will I find a kindred spirit? How will this group welcome newcomers?"
In the end, I did go to the meeting. There were a few awkward moments like when I got lost in the building and had difficulty finding the correct meeting room. Once in the right place, I met a few kindred spirits and was relieved to discover that there were other first time attendees. Even though I did not understand everything that was discussed, I still came away with some helpful information. I tried to be a good guest and made sure I reached out to others. At the end of the evening, as I said my good-byes, one of the leaders asked if I would come back next time. I think I will. I did make a few connections and I am sure as time goes on, I will connect with more people. As I make more connections with group members, a beautiful picture will emerge. Once again, I will feel part of a community and the whole will be greater than its parts.