The Neighborhood of Our Dreams
There was a time years ago when I was single and working so hard at several jobs that I was too exhausted when I got home to interact with my neighbors. I wanted to close the door and close out the world. I had no energy for engaging with people who lived right near me… and I really liked those people. So, while this rhythm wasn’t what I wanted, I had a hard time shaking out of it. Slowly, loneliness starting creeping up on me like a thief in a parking lot. I felt shaken, isolated. I lost my confidence in connecting with people outside my regular circle. I didn’t know exactly how I got here, but my home had become the place where I closed myself in.
Then, my friends from church moved in a few doors down from me. They started to have gatherings. Plates of food were left at my door and chalk drawings were created on my sidewalk. It was as if my heart was opening up to something I had been missing and longing for but didn’t know it: community! We had meals together, hung out, watched movies, and sat in each other’s back yards. We had each other’s spare keys, which came in handy on more than one occasion. And as quickly as I had been lulled into disconnection, I had come back to life, right there in my neighborhood. I had friends who were neighbors, and neighbors who became friends. Screen doors instead of closed front doors; front porch sitting instead of back deck hiding.
Fast forward some years, now my husband and I are living in a new neighborhood and discovering the beauty of community isn’t just a good idea, it’s God’s idea. Join me for a rich conversation with my very wise dear friend, Julie Heiliger, about “Finding Home – Exploring God’s Dream For Our Neighborhoods” (which, by the way, is the title of her new book). Julie has modeled for me what it means to be an intentional, faithful presence in my community. I have learned so much from watching her and her family and how they intentionally interact in their neighborhood. When you hear Julie share, you may just want to move in to her neighborhood. She gives us some beautiful ideas on how to love our neighbors well. And, who knows? With the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, we just may be able to build the neighborhood of our dreams.