This little goober and I have been hiking into Twain Harte, CA, our little town a couple of miles up the road. My son is such a sweet little man. People can’t help but to want to say hello and ask about him.
Yesterday we walked to the market and picked up some snacks for him and some orange juice for me. As we were walking back outside to get Winnie, our little dog, I noticed a woman was waiting for her ride home with a cart full of groceries. We talked for quite a while and exchanged contact info. She could use rides occationally, and I said that while I can’t promise I’ll always be able to provide them, I’d like to know when she needs them and so I can coordinate errands Carrie and I already need to run and give her a ride to the store or what not.
Jackson and I then made our way to the park for him to play for about an hour. During our time there we met a few families, but one of my conversations brought me back to lifeguarding days here in Twain Harte. I was head guard at the local lake and met a lot of young people who are now adults and having kids. Carrie and I didn’t have Jackson until about 8 years of marriage, so I’m having my kids at the same time as some of these younger families – that that we qualify as “old”. These times at the park make for a really cool opportunity to talk about having kids, enjoy working with our kids in how to play well together, and get to know one another as neighbors. I’m realizing that the park is a great place to meet people and build friendships. Carrie and I are still newly back to my hometown, making it into our home town. Looking forward to many more walks to the park and connections made.
When we do these walks, there is a kind of suspended feel for my soul. I’m aware of God carrying me along to meet people I’d never meet if I didn’t walk outside of my door. Through going on these walks, I’m meeting neighbors anywhere from right across the street to three or four miles from my home. Several of these I’ve been able to have really meaningful conversations, but either way, I’ve been able to make contact and start friendly acquaintance with them. It’s encouraging to actually know the people you live around; it’s mutually encouraging. People want to be known. As much as we say we are in a garage-door era of shutting ourselves off locally and just connecting to people we want to via commuting to events, we are neighbors to each other whether we realize how cool that is or not. It’s amazing to have neighbors and to celebrate each other’s presence as such.
More than feeling suspended and less encumbered by adgendas, when Carrie and I simply work with and enjoy the people God naturally places in our lives, we come to find “them” becoming part of who we know ourselves to be… people are less “them” and more “us”. In Christ, believers should be some of the best at community-building. We get to feel almost weightless in Christ. We have less anxious thoughts the more we love on one another and our neighbors. We value people more and activities less. Things and activities become merely the context for loving people. And, whenever things and activities are barriers to celebrating Christ and the people He has put in our lives, we should evaluate our priorities and seek first His kingdom. This is where a little introspection is healthy. We must get close to our Savior, worship Him, be filled with passion to know Him more in His Word and in fellowship with His people. As we do this, we should experience the natural longing together to go out and know our actual neighbors. Let’s experience the freedom to love a hurting neighborhood around us, and let’s live on mission for our Savior, the Great Commission defining our decisions and filling us with joy, that we get to together follow Jesus into our eternal home, bringing our neighbors with us.
Thanks to anyone reading these posts for your feedback. It’s encouraged me to keep it up. I’m seeking to simply observe God’s work in our county and to grow in His grace with His people, seeking to lead but not arrogantly or obnoxiously as I could do if I were overly introspective and about my own agendas… as I’ve done before. God is teaching me of humility more every day. I’m challenged by the example of friends around me who simply avail themselves to God’s lead in their lives year after year. God works in our lives, friends. Let’s celebrate Christ together and share the hope we have in Heaven, our Savior, our all-in-all.