I went to work today and there was a power outage. A suicidal squirrel had run straight into a transformer. It took me about .03 seconds to decide to hightail it out and here I am, at 9:37 am, wondering what to blog about.
A lot is swirling around in my head, but here goes:
We have 2 houses on our street that have just sold. I've been praying for weeks that we will be a blessing to the new people and they to us.
We have a great street and neighbors, so I've been bubbling over with excitement about the promise of welcoming these new families to it.
So what am I looking for? I'm looking for neighbors who will love and accept my kids just how they are. Who will get a kick out of them the way I do. Who will invite us over for Friday night pizza and a few beers.
I want to be needed, so if the whole family, parents included, were orphans, that would be fine. Of course in my shallowness, I must admit I want to be needed in the "Where's the grocery store? or "Let's hang out on my porch" kind of way, not in the walk with me through a major life crisis sort of way.
And, at its most basic, I want to be LIKED, a la Sally Field at the Oscars.
But the reality is, they may not need me, or WANT me, or even LIKE me.
Why is it that I want so much to be wanted and to have my kids be wanted (not by the law, mind you) too? Is it because I'm never really sure where I/we fit in? Is it because I sometimes wish I could rewind and put my kids in public school from day one so we'd be more "plugged into" our town? What if my desire to be needed is less about serving others and more about wanting to be popular? Hello? I'm 41, am I not past this YET?
I mean really, do I want the hard work of LOVING MY NEIGHBOR? Do I want to love my neighbor in the biblical sense-- okay not THAT biblical sense-- but in the way that God would want me to?
Because that's more about when the honeymoon wears off.
That's about picking up the bikes and toys that have been strewn over the cul de sac for the umpteenth time by kids, not your own, who treat your carport as their personal Walmart.
That's about dealing with the fact that your kids aren't going to mesh with all of the other kids, all of the time, and that that can be super-awkward when you are friends with the parents.
That's about bearing each other's burdens when a neighbor is crashing and burning.
That's about being real, not pretending that everything is perfect in your own home.
It can even be admitting to yourself and your neighbors that with sports and homework and the relentless Race to Nowhere you are often too fried or too lazy or too blah to initiate the pizza and beer on Friday thing because your flannels have been on since 4pm and you can barely be nice to the people in your own home and you want to pull the blinds down, way down, except you don't have blinds and it's all just too too much.
Sounds exhausting, doesn't it?
But like a brand new baby, new neighbors have that promise of perfection. Of being wrapped in cellophane with a big shiny bow. Of weekend trips and margaritas and best friends and prom dates and soul mates.
But when Jesus calls us to love our neighbors, he meant in the day to day, in the awkwardness, in the disputes, in the whose dog is crapping on my lawn, in the hurt feelings of kid fights, and the late night calls of "We're on our way to the ER, come now!"
And I don't really know how to do that. Because I'm selfish. And insecure. And petty. And I want things to be FUN! and EASY! and NOT INVOLVE SO MUCH POOP!
So my prayer is that I can be a blessing to these new families. Not for me, but for them. And to realize if they don't need me, that's okay too.