Are you “alone, alone?!”

The end of June, I signed up as a Norwex consultant. This isn’t a sales pitch – so stay with me. I wanted to make some money on the side and get some products for free. I’ve been involved with direct sales before. Since I consider myself an introvert, this isn’t something I’ve excelled at… “people-ing” isn’t my favorite.

Regardless, I got my starter kit and read through some of the materials. One other driving force for me to join is to reduce my family’s cancer risk. My boys now have a mother with a history of breast cancer and a grandmother who passed away from it. This product line is new to me. I like to know what I’m talking about, so being “new” made me significantly uncomfortable. The end of June was my niece’s wedding, then the big family reunion, then the trip to Milwaukee. Somewhere in all of that, I decided I should go to the Norwex National Convention. Um, you’re doing what??!!

I changed our October teachers convention tickets (was to Chicago) to be flights from MSP to Dallas the first part of August. Because I forgot it’s summer and Texas gets hot? I’m not sure. It just seemed like a good idea and things fell into place. $68 hotel room for 2 nights, $108 rental car… this is all reasonable. The guys would come with me and fish etc during the day and I’d meet up with them after convention.

The convention started Thursday but we flew in Friday morning. Nervous to be “late,” I walked up to the registration desk. They had my name but not my packet since I registered late. Lunch was upstairs. Ok, no big deal, right? Um… I walked up to thousands of people already eating a nice meal. There were two rooms of (mostly) ladies. I asked someone how I could find an open table. She walked with me and I sat down in front of a salad, with 8 strangers who were enjoying their lemon tart already. “Why did you come so late?” “Are you alone?” I stumbled to answer questions while politely eating my salad. “Um, I’m new,” I said between bites of dandelion leaves. “I just started the end of June.” They all looked a little confused and kind of surprised that I had showed up to a National convention, just a month after joining.

The rest of the day was fine. The guys had fun and came to pick me up so we could meet my aunt for supper. Saturday morning came and they dropped me off at the convention center so they could get started fishing. I went back upstairs, feeling confident… now I knew where I was going. I strolled into the main room and it took my breath away. Round tables…3,000 people (2,997 ladies and like 3 guys)… all sitting with their teams. I stood in the back for a bit, scanning for an open seat. Yesterday this was just rows of chairs, but they were prepping for the gala banquet & had it in round table configuration. I thought about going up to a table but then I just went into the lobby. I sat on a chair for a few minutes until I realized the presentation was on a TV in the lobby area. I sat there and watched what was going on, somewhat relieved to just blend in. A lady sat nearby…when another lady came over to talk about how crowded it was in there, I blurted out: “yeah, it’s not a good set up if you’re alone.” They both stopped and looked at me. “Wait, isn’t your team here?,” the one woman said. I replied (wishing I had just kept my mouth shut), “Um, no, I’m by myself.” She stopped and put her hand on my shoulder… “Wait, so you’re alone/alone?!” “Yes,” I said softly. She took me by the arm (not in a forceful way), and led me to the registration desk. “We are going to find your team.” They looked up my upline and found a person who was part of my group. “You’re going to be just fine, sweetie. You’re in good hands.”

Oh man, what had I gotten myself into? What was I thinking? I felt like there was a giant “L” on my forehead. The old me would have just walked out, so they would be unable to find me… but I stayed. I found the people who are part of my team. They asked me to go to lunch. By the end of lunch, I found out that in the midst of 3,009 people, I found someone who knows my sister. What are the odds?! This was a National convention. My sister lives in a small town in North Dakota, and I found someone who knows her. It was like a reassurance that I wasn’t really “alone/alone.”

I did skip the gala/ball/banquet supper thing. (Come on now, I can’t just totally change.) After the other sessions, my youngest son and I met up with my aunt again and did some outlet mall shopping. We found great deals and had a great time. When we were walking out, she found 3 pennies. We all paused and thanked her sister, my other aunt, who passed from cancer several years ago. We weren’t “alone, alone” at all. She was with us. And this was in the convention center hotel… it reminds me of my grandmother.

I wish you peace on your journey of enough, because when you feel “alone/alone,” peace may be the farthest thing from your mind. You may feel anxious, nervous or sad. It’s ok to reach out and speak up. It’s ok to let a stranger take you to find your team. It’s ok to let someone else sit beside you. It’s ok to hear their story and to tell yours. We weren’t meant to be alone, and there are reminders of that all around us. Reach out to someone today. Invite them into your group. Say a kind word or give a compliment to a stranger. I had a total stranger compliment me on my curly hair and it made my day… you could make someone’s day also.

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