Snapshots of Neighboring from the Reservoir Community
April 19, 2016
Many of you have already communicated your experiences of neighboring to us – we thought it would be encouraging to share these as we all try to navigate our own efforts of neighboring!
“This week my son dragged my daughter and me out of the house early (even before my hair was done) and we all still had our pajamas on. I’m so glad he did though, because we met a neighbor whom we haven’t spoken to since we moved in 2 years ago. It turns out she’s 90 and she’s lonely. That was her primary word she used. She was out for her morning walk before the rain came. “
“Last night, I had a great dream about working side by side in a kitchen next to my grumpy neighbor across the street who I spy on all the time. In the dream he struck up a conversation with me as if we’d been talking forever. It was a great dream 🙂 Praying that it will be a reality.”
“This week I asked the little girl I was babysitting how she knew if someone was a neighbor. She answered, “Because they always say: “May I come in?” This was meaningful to me to think about neighboring as an invitation into something more – our lives, each other’s stories.”
“We had been told that Mrs L wasn’t very friendly, was actually rather grumpy. A year or two after moving in, we did some renovations at our place that required a big dumpster in our driveway. Mrs. L would be staring at that ugly dumpster for a few months, so I thought it would be neighborly to let her know ahead of time. I think she was surprised that anyone would reach out. She invited me in for a cup of tea and I got to hear her story. Turns out she isn’t grumpy or mean, she was grieving the death of her beloved husband. Neighboring reminds me that everyone has a story.”
“This week I looked up and made eye contact with my neighbor on the other side of the street – AND – I actually waved. This is a significant step in the context of our neighboring relationship”.
“For my five year-olds birthday party, recently, she invited a bunch of classmates including a girl we hadn’t spent much time with. Not tons of lines of difference between us, but I wanted to connect with the girl’s dad because his family is from Mexico and Amelia’s school tends to have outsized presence from white, upper-income families. As soon as we invite the girl, her family immediately sent an invitation to her own birthday, around the same time. We went and had a ball—just a few families, mostly their friends who had also immigrated from Mexico. So the party was a really new and valuable experience for Amelia—her first tres leches b-day cake, her first pinata—we loved it. I was really grateful Amelia had a chance to learn about the world and we got to build a bigger bridge.”
“God totally opened up play with our neighbors next door who although we have boys the same age they barely played for the first three years we lived here. We talked a few times with the other couple about putting a hole in the fence or removing it all together but it never happened. Finally our more extroverted 4 year old started talking to them over the fence more and more and we finally decided to build some sort of platform so that he would stop climbing on the bunny hutch to talk to them. The next day we came home from church, saw some wood on the street being put out for trash and thought we could use it to build a platform. Low and behold it is a castle play house that has been taken apart. We dragged it over and my husband put it back together and put it up against the fence and installed a door leading over the fence to our neighbors yard. They bought at cargo net and attached it to their side of the fence, since then the boys went from playing a few times a year to almost every day. We could have never built a castle that cool – God totally gave us the castle and opened up friendship where we were struggling.”
“Our neighborhood should be perfect for kids. We live on a dead end, and there’s a family across the street from us with boys the same age as ours. They’ve been living there as long as we have, but somehow the kids never felt free to just hang out together without adults involved. Then a couple years ago a new family moved in next door, also with kids the same age. Those kids weren’t at all shy about coming over and asking our boys or our other neighbors out to play, and their example catalyzed all the neighborhood kids to be more open and invitational; now they’re all outside together most afternoons. We feel so grateful to be living somewhere with such an old-school feel, and I hope next time we find ourselves in a situation where the community isn’t as open and welcoming as it could be, we could be the catalysts!”
“I’ve been praying about more opportunities to meet my neighbors – where there just hasn’t seemed like there are any natural/organic opportunities. Since I’ve been praying over the last 2 weeks – I’ve seen my neighbors across the street – more than I can remember. I’m not sure if I’m just more aware to see them now – or if God is orchestrating moments of intersection. Either way – I’m totally encouraged!” (Now to do something about it).
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to share your experience of neighboring.