It was a normal Sunday in a singles ward I had just endured the usual debacle, “to be early or late, that is the question” (That’s a debate for another post) So there I sat in the middle of a middle row a few minutes early. I was turned around chatting with the girl behind me trying to make new friends. That was my objective for the day. I sat in a new location and specifically by myself in hopes that someone would sit next to me and I could talk with them.
About 3 minutes later I looked around in frustration. My attempts to make new friends had been thwarted when on both sides of me people began to fill in the aisle leaving two empty seats directly next to me. Perhaps they thought that I had a couple of visitors, or that I smelled bad, I don’t know but I suddenly felt defeated in my goal. Similar attempts failed in other ways that day as well.
Knowing that you only make friends when you are a friend, I began pleading with Heavenly Father to know how to reach out, and to understand where to find friends in my new ward. (Don’t get me wrong, I have a multiplicity of friends in a general sense, but for whatever reason in this new ward it just wasn’t happening.) So I asked myself and my Heavenly Father, “how do I make new friends in a singles ward?”
My answer came in a different way than I expected, but it shouldn’t have surprised me. Amidst tears and frustration a wonderful caring roommate (who we shall refer to as Lady Michelle), could sense I was upset. She began writing me notes inquiring of my frustrations and telling me jokes. She suggested we invite several other sisters in the ward to do something because perhaps that would help. She encouraged me to keep trying at the exact moment all I wanted to do was go home and hide in my room. Her kindness and love was a blessing and tender mercy to me that day.
A few hours after my pleading with my Father, I received a text message from my roommate’s boyfriend. “Hey, guess who is your new home teacher?” Yes it was Sir Robert. It made me laugh, of course it was someone whom I had already met a hundred times, but yet someone I didn’t know. The next day I get another text, “Hey, can we come visit you tonight at 9?”
My home teachers came. Sir Robert and Sir Richard (as we fondly refer to them in this house). At first we just chatted, and I could see that they really wanted to be my friends and know who I was and what I was up to in the world. Their message was powerful, and when they left, I felt uplifted and less alone in my ward.
Later in the week it was my turn to visit teach. I was a bit nervous, since I didn’t really know my companion or the sister we were visiting, but it turned out to be a very refreshing experience. We bonded over small town life and the shady nature of our nearest grocery store. It wasn’t a life-altering experience, but I found once again the blossoms of friendship were sweetly placed before me.
Then it dawned on me, while I still didn’t know too many faces around me, the Lord in His wisdom and kindness had created a system for built-in friendship. I learned that friendship starts in the home, either with roommates, or with your family. I learned the power of home and visiting teaching in both answering prayers, and creating a support system for each one of us. I learned the value of leaving no empty chairs. I learned yet again that my Father in Heaven is in the details of my life.
So thank you my friends. Lady Michelle, Sir Robert and Richard, and my visiting teaching friends! Your goodness reminds me of this quote from Marlin K. Jensen “If we truly want to be tools in the hands of our Heavenly Father in bringing to pass His eternal purposes, we need only to be a friend.” You have all been that tool in my life! Thank you for your small and simple acts of friendship!
What others suggestions do you have for finding friends at church? I’d be happy to try them!
Ashley Dewey is extremely talented at being single. Hobbies include awkward conversations with members of the opposite sex, repelling third dates, talking to boys about their girl problems and to girls about their boy problems. In her spare time she also has a very fulfilling school life, work life, and social life. Besides being a professional single, Ashley is also a BYU graduate with a degree in linguistics (Aka word nerd). She enjoys studying other languages, particularly American Sign Language, and finds most all of them fascinating. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. Ashley works most of the time and has often been accused of being a workaholic. Currently she works full time as a merchandiser and supervisor in a retail store, and part time doing social media work. On her day off she works (really it doesn't feel like work) in the Provo LDS temple. The only kind of work she finds difficulty focusing on is house work. Her favorite activities in her free time are reading, writing, creating social experiments, and spending time with great friends and family. Specific activities with those family and friends include: going to concerts, plays, dance recitals, BYU basketball and football games, and watching sports on television.