Our neighbors bought a boat.
I know. What does that have to do with anything? Well… in our neighborhood, a little bit of everything and nothing at the same time.
Let me step back.
We were coming home from dinner with my in-laws last night for my husband’s birthday (a precious time with family that we are so grateful for!), when we saw a new boat parked in our neighbors’ drive. They were outside.
As we pulled into our own driveway the kids took off up the street, excited to check out the new addition to the block.
“Did you but a boat?!” I shouted to Alyssa, a neighbor who has become family since a trip on a whim to Austin, Texas last year.
“We did!” She laughed back, explaining how this purchase was also a sort of whim.
The kids climbed on. The adults settled in. Chairs came out on the driveway. Drinks were opened. At one point laughably melted floats were poured (my fault alone). Knees were scraped. The toddler was scolded by me – his actual mom – and Alyssa – one of many bonus moms in this life we live. Laughs were abundant. A vacation may or may not have been planned.
The reason I said earlier that the boat was about everything and nothing at the same time… is that these occurrences aren’t strange one-time scenarios here. (Yes, a new boat is different, but I’m talking overall here).
Earlier in the day one neighbor had shared a pretty rough trip home from New York via train with regular updates while we all checked in. We will hear more today after she gets some rest. Another shared some Door Dash-ed coffee as an afternoon pick up and asked about golf options with John.
This place has become more than a neighborhood. It has become family.
At first, the building of it all was strange… we started brunch together in the driveway on Saturdays. Open for everyone. There were awkward invitations. There were new neighbors a little weirded out about what they may have stepped into. I learned that sometimes too much enthusiasm on a first meeting can just be too much (ha!).
But now. There’s a rhythm and “life doing” that would be hard to get by some days without.
Kids drop by. Adults share vulnerabilities. New families move in and slowly get to know the others.
John and I? We have had a year. There have been more downs than ups it sometimes – often – feels. My anxiety has been crippling at times. Our neighbors have their own giants, life changes, celebrations, and struggles… but sharing, gaining insights, praying, and breaking down walls have made it easier to share without starting from scratch.
I don’t know what God has planned for our journey, but right now, I’m grateful he has placed us right where we are. Not necessarily the location we would choose, but where he has allowed for growth, laughs, and life building in a community that’s become so much more than houses and streets.
I’m writing this to encourage you: your village is out there too. Where you are isn’t an accident. The people going in and out of garage doors around you might just be great friendships waiting to develop or folks who could use encouragement. Go out on a limb… stick some donuts and coffee out on a Saturday morning and invite folks in. Say hi when you go for walks. Sit on the front porch instead of out back every now and then.
I can’t say what it’ll bring… but I can promise that a little vulnerability can go a long way.
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