The New Kid

The day I turned 12 years old, my family moved from our small town in Alabama to a big town in Tennessee. I lived in an unfamiliar house in a peculiar neighborhood and all my friends were too far away. A few weeks later I walked into my new school wearing a new dress because that was the rule. Girls wore dresses and boys wore collared, button-down shirts tucked in their pants. I never had these rules before and this made everything feel even stranger.

My classes went well though. I was late to Mrs. Bradshaw’s 7th grade English class because I had trouble finding the classroom. I listened intently to the teachers and was eager to learn, especially Tennessee History. Then there was lunch. I hadn’t thought about dreading it until I stood in line waiting for the glob of potatoes to fill the square on the top left corner of my tray. As I finished going through the line, I glanced around to see the entire lunchroom.

I stood there. Awkwardly. In a dress I hated. With a hideous hair cut. Holding a lunch I didn’t want to eat in a place I didn’t want to be.  IMG_5631

But like every new or uncomfortable situation I’ve been in since then, I made it through and here I am to tell the story.

We’ve all been there. Maybe not in the 7th grade with your hair cut too short wearing a plaid dress, but you’ve been the new kid or employee in training. The first-timer in an obstacle race, a freshman at college, the rookie gym member, or a newcomer to a writer’s conference…….feeling out of place, unsure and less than.

When we’re new to something we ask questions. That’s how we grow from not knowing to knowing. Is this seat taken? Which way to the math and science building? How can I strengthen my back muscles? Where do I get my timing chip? What do I say to the literary agent?

So we learn where to go and what to say and the next day or the next time it’s easier…..we’re not as unsure. We do that over and over and without even thinking about it we know what we’re doing and we’re confident in it. We’re winning the races, or killing our workouts at the gym, acing the college classes, or writing a book.

Changing circumstances, new experiences, and different environments are normal parts of our lives. Some of them we choose. Others we never would.

The best way to handle any of them: moment to moment, one foot in front of the other, with an open heart and a willingness to learn all we can. We’ll do it well sometimes. Other times we’ll fall flat on our faces. But it’s good either way if we’ve learned something, made a friend, solved a problem or faced a fear.

The more we do this, the better we get at it. We remember how we conquered the awkwardness and insecurity and it gives us courage to try other things. We welcome new opportunities. We’re not afraid to ask hard questions and we go against the flow when needed. We’re willing to be different and we don’t mind walking through difficult circumstances. Sometimes we even choose it because it’s the right thing to do.

But we do it with lots of grace and always thinking of others along the way because that’s the point. All of it means nothing……our learning, our serving, our working, our creating……..it means nothing if we’re not loving others.

I wish I could tell you who I sat with at lunch that day. Maybe I found out we had to sit with our homeroom class. Maybe someone called me over to sit with them. I do remember making lots of friends in 7th grade but I don’t remember anything from my Tennessee History class.

Let’s not forget how it feels to be the new kid and let’s make a newbie feel a little more comfortable when given the chance.

“Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”     Matthew 11:29-30 (MSG)

 

No Comments

  1. Pam on July 29, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Another perfectly timed, amazingly written piece. I thank you.

  2. dawnlizjones on July 29, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Perfectly timed is right! Almost lost my Dad last week, and just got back. Hard stuff, on going, no play book for this one. Great post!

    • mariegriffith on July 29, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      Dawn, I’m sorry. It is hard. But there’s grace and the One who gives it.

  3. Joy Waters Martin on July 30, 2017 at 8:40 am

    I sure needed this right now. Well-timed words. Ironically, the Spirit has been prompting me to write into this topic as well as I start a new journey with work. Thanks for the extra nudge. ? Beautifully written! Loves!

    • mariegriffith on July 30, 2017 at 10:23 am

      Thank you Joy! We all need a nudge every now and then.

  4. Suzette on July 30, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Awesome job Marie! As usual!!

  5. 7inchesinblog on August 2, 2017 at 5:02 am

    Good job

  6. Robin Turner on August 5, 2017 at 8:52 am

    So good. I am overcoming insecurities even now. I am so glad He keeps writing our story and using everything to help me grow. You are inspiring!! Great writing.

    • mariegriffith on August 5, 2017 at 9:20 am

      Thank you Robin. We still have so much left to say and do. He’s making us ready for what’s ahead.

  7. brucewmartin on August 25, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    I love this! It’s well written and made me smile thinking about my own 7th grade lunchroom experience. It also reminded me to help other “7th graders!” Thank you Marie!

  8. Covert Novelist on November 11, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    There are indeed umpteen million moments we face in life just like this and every child hesitates. I wished that younger people could understand everything is momentary and moves on that this is a fleeting moment to be replaced by many others and yes some are precious and others uncomfortable. Thank you for writing this. It was beautiful.

    • mariegriffith on November 11, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      Thank you. You’re right, if we could only make the younger ones understand the scary and uncomfortable moments are just that…..moments, then maybe they would face them with more confidence.

  9. coloradosunriseblog on November 11, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Hi there! What part of Alabama were you in? I spent some time in Anniston, Somerville, and Huntsville.

    • mariegriffith on November 11, 2017 at 3:22 pm

      I’m back in Alabama. In a small town next to Somerville and a short distance from Huntsville. I live in Hartselle. My dad worked for a company in Anniston. Small world!

      • coloradosunriseblog on November 11, 2017 at 3:40 pm

        That’s so funny! I did my riding lessons at B & W Stables in the Hartselle area!

  10. An Expressive Outlet – Colorado Sunrise on November 11, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    […] The New Kid […]

  11. Viola Bleu on February 13, 2018 at 10:33 am

    I really enjoyed reading that and pictured my own first day in a new school when my parents moved mid-year. It was hell. You dealt with it way better than I!
    I shall follow and look forward to reading more from you – found you today on the wordprompt participants ???

    • mariegriffith on February 13, 2018 at 10:41 am

      Thank you Viola. It was tough but we got through it! We’re probably better for it too.

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