This is from my journal two Decembers ago. . .
I saw Jenny, the young woman I met a few weeks ago, sitting by herself in church again. I’m never sure whether to leave a person be or what, but I invited her to come sit with us and she did.
Afterwards, as we were leaving, she told me yesterday’s luncheon for single parents was wonderful. She usually avoids things specifically designed for single parents, but she took a chance and was happily surprised. It was excellent. (I didn’t even know she was a single parent. Of course, she doesn’t know my story either.)
I told her I’d gone to the Women’s Christmas Tea a week ago and left before it started, that it turned out to be harder than I expected, that we have drama in the family and being around all those women with mothers and daughters and daughters-in-law, all happy and smiling, was hard on me. (Not that I prefer they were sad, but it was all too much a reminder of what’s missing for me). I told her I had been doing okay, counting down the minutes until the time I thought the program was scheduled to begin, but when that time came and the person in charge invited everyone to socialize another 30 minutes, I knew I couldn’t manage it and felt desperate to escape.
Jenny groaned. She got it. She said it was better to have gone and needed to leave than to have stayed home without even trying. I agreed.
“Next time…,” I began.
“Next time…” – Jenny interrupted – “…we’ll go together.”
Wasn’t that nice? Like a gift.