Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Because you're our neighbor.

This one, her mom, and brand-new baby sister spontaneously helped me plant freesia bulbs today. It was The Best.

I haven't posted much lately mostly because of finals and IEP reports;
and also because I've been wanting to write more intentionally...
so I've been saving ideas and writing them in my head instead of out loud in hopes they will come out eloquent later.

Along those lines, I've been saving this thought and these pictures;
but really... I'm not sure it's that complicated.
Which is part of what's so lovely about it.

For the past year-and-a-bit, but increasingly over the last few months,
I have been so enjoying blossoming friendships with my neighbors.
As in, the people whose front doors are visible from my front door.

None of them are people I know from church or school,
and if we hadn't ended up on the same street I might never have gotten to know most of them.

And I am so glad that I have.

Small gestures have built upon small gestures and pausing for brief conversations in the driveway has gradually evolved into comfort crossing a yard to sit on front steps. Invitations in, that felt shy to give or receive started feeling natural, and eventually stopped needing invitations at all.

Turns out casually inviting a grad student far from her family to your kid's birthday party might really matter to her.
Turns out showing up for a second-grader's birthday party to which you were invited
might really matter to him, and his mom.

Turns out discovering the guy next door is a carpenter and jokingly mentioning you have mismatched shelves that have sat under your coffee table for a year...
might mean he knocks on your door one Sunday afternoon with tools slung over his arm.
His smiling wife will to help you decide exactly where they would look best,
and he'll spend an hour and a half thoughtfully hanging shelves stronger and straighter than you knew shelves could be.
(And he might exclaim as he watches the level balance perfectly afterwards,
"Damn, I am good at my job!").

(It also turns out baking for people as a thank you is extremely well-received.)

If your neighbor owns the massage clinic in town and you confess how sore you are every morning,
he might schedule you an appointment, and when you go to pay the receptionist you might find out you were scheduled under the "friends and family discount".

And if you leave your kitchen window open when their kids are playing on the street,
they might run up to talk to you, and if you tell them they're welcome in,
they might spend their Friday afternoon building a fort in your upstairs.
Their parents might even stop by to hang out afterwards.

Realizing the pub your neighbor bartends at is on the same street as your favorite coffee shop makes it not so hard to stop in to say a quick hi while she works...
which might mean sometimes she stops by your house to chat after work.

Turns out quick hi's and kitchen table chats turn into friendships.

And if you apologize as you bake cookies with the sweet girl across the street and her little boy that you have to roll cookie dough out with a glass,
she may walk over a week later with a rolling pin with a bow around it.

Turns out cookie dough made with eggs from their chicken tastes better.

Spontaneous brunch on a snow day might turn into spontaneous snowman building might turn into texted offers to pick food up from grocery stores with 4-wheel drive.

Growing bellies you see every day as moms get the mail turn into brand-new babies you get to hold when you bring soup over the first week. Babies you first saw in bellies turn bright-eyed and alert and start grinning and waving at you from the porch when you walk by.

Turns out coming home from work to find several families standing on a front lawn chatting,
and laughing with them as they all crack up at the face you make when you sip from the drink someone hands you...
is a wonderful way to start the evening after a long day.

A couple weeks ago before Meagan and Avery and I walked down the road to the ice cream store, I asked if they minded if I left my bag at their house.
Avery, age 7, stared at me.

"We don't mind anything you do... because you're our neighbor."

Turns out becoming friends with my neighbors has added more to my daily life than I ever imagined.

shelves above and below by Robbie. rolling pin from Meagan.


Kendra said...

I like this post a lot. A bit of inspiration for this introvert. Thank you for the 2:30am text alerting me to its existence. ;)

One Thankful Mom said...

I love this post; there are so many good things about it. What a blessing to have great neighbors, and to be a great neighbor. I wish you were my neighbor :)

Asharae said...

Oh my goodness I love this post :) Wish we were neighbors too!

Human Needs Global Resources Covenant, 2009

As fellow travelers on this journey, we commit to this covenant before God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear these our prayers:

When confronted with scarcity, need, and inadequacy, may we be nourished by the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Abundance overflows from Your table, sustaining all who come in faith. Father, help us.

When monotony blurs our vision and dulls our senses, may we encounter others as Christ did, through intentional presence in daily life, submitting as clay to be formed into vessels filled with the Spirit. Christ, guide us.

When wounded by the fractured condition of Your people, may we be united by Your Lordship in faith, hope, and love; seeing, as through the facets of a diamond, the beautiful spectrum of Your light reflected onto Your holy Church joined in praise. Spirit, empower us.

When all Creation groans, afflicted by injustice and driven to despair, may the promise of redemption root us in the hope of Your Kingdom: "Behold, I am making all things new!"

Holy Trinity, send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.