Learning To Be A Good Neighbor Again

I get puppy-dog tongue wagging happy driving home into my neighborhood at the end of the day.  And it’s not just because it looks like Wisteria Lane.  I honestly think I might live in an RV, as long as my neighbors parked their RV’s next to me. But it hasn’t always been like this.  I lost my “neighbor” way for a while. Oh, I said “hi” to the guy down the hall in my condo complex, and took flowers to an old lady once, but I never had them over for dinner.  I didn’t lean in and my friendliness stopped at the threshold of the door. For at least a couple of years, I have been an admittedly bad neighbor.

But this place I have moved to is different.  It’s, dare I say…”magical?”  I can’t bring myself to shut the door.  It cries out to be open.  I could be the poster girl for Ladera Life.  It really is “that” good.

Something in my heart is being reawakened to the acceptance and warmth of a community that embraces and doesn’t let me hide. I couldn’t tell you when my “neighbor “light burned out.  I can’t remember the day I started rushing into my home and avoiding people. Maybe it was after my divorce. Maybe it was when the explanations and tears ran dry.

The problem with neighbors is that they “know” things.  You can’t hide the proverbial white elephant when he’s pooping on your neighbor’s lawn. In my old neighborhood, everyone knew I got I dumped. It’s not like you can hide the single mom status.  We pretend that everything’s ok; deluding ourselves in a fog of denial, but in all reality, Mrs. Busybody down the street has got our number.

For the last year, I prayed for God to bless me with some friends that I could connect with and relate to.  I sorely needed companionship, though I really didn’t have a lot to give.  Yes, I know that’s a selfish request, but it’s where I was at.  Moving into a brand new community with my relatively new husband, having a baby, three kids, a career, and starting a church just didn’t leave a lot of time for fun. So, I specifically prayed that I would find friends that were also convenient; in the midst of all this chaos I call my life. I wanted healthy and low maintenance friends.  I find it best to be specific with God.

And God is so ridiculously faithful.  He amply provided a bevy of beautiful gals, right in front of my stinking house, that I can laugh with, delight in and wail to. How’s that for a loving and merciful God!

Sometimes I feel like I am eight years old again, walking across the street to see if Keri can play.  I keep my eye out for Stacy ambling down the street with her little girls, or I look for my fun friend Lindsey who can hear the tinkle of the ice-cream truck a mile away. 

I never expected God would heal my “neighbor” wound by restoring the very thing in me that I resented.  And, oh by the way, answer my friend prayer with these same neighbors, the ones that come over for just a second and end up staying two hours.

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