of cookies. I rang the bell and I stood there.
Waiting for someone to open the door. Waiting for someone to open the door and let me say, “Hi! My name is Mary. I live across the street. Welcome to the neighborhood.”
My old neighbor had told me that the new owner was a single mom with two little boys. I had moved to the neighborhood 3 years earlier; I didn’t find the area overly friendly.
I didn’t find the area friendly.
Being raised in the South and living for 30 years in the Midwest…I KNEW how to welcome someone to the neighborhood and it wasn’t by ignoring the new neighbor! No sir-ree!
You did it with a cake or cookies.
You did it with a smile, a wave and a conversation. It always worked before. I was sure it would work this time.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, the door cracked.
There she stood.
My new neighbor. The mother of two cute little boys. The widow of a policeman.
I told her my name. She didn’t tell me hers.
I offered the cookies. She accepted.
The words gushed out of my mouth. She hardly said a word.
You can say it was because I didn’t give her a chance *smile* but it was more than that. Much more. MUCH more.
I was open. She was guarded.
She finally told me her name. She said thank you and sent me on my way.
As the weeks went on, I would see my neighbor, her sister and her boys going in and out of the house. The boys, now 3 and 4, are every bit as outgoing as their mother is reserved and quiet. If I walk to my mailbox and they are outside, they yell things like, “I’m fine! Thank you. How are you?”
They invite me to come and check out their new swing set. Unfortunately, the day they extended the invitation I was running late for an appointment.
What circumstances made this woman so quiet? What happened to make her not want to talk? What? Happened?
These days the words have been absent. These days my heart seems broken. My mind just WILL. NOT. FUNCTION. for blogging. What happened?
I realize that part of the problem is that I am guarded. I am only cracking the door, not throwing it wide open and welcoming whatever is going to come my way.
No, I am keeping my fists clenched. My eyes closed. And walls erected around my heart….much like my neighbor when she first moved across the street.
I am trying to open my hands.
I am trying to throw open the door and welcome what He is sending.
After all, how much can one receive with clenched fists and closed doors? I am trying to be open to receiving…receiving ALL He has to offer.
I have tried passing out plates of cookies and loaves of zucchini bread to new neighbors but keep receiving the same responses as you. Sign of the times maybe?
Glad you're cracking open the door.
BTW–looks like the feed to my place in your blogroll isn't updating to my new site (which isn't the reason I stopped over here, I just noticed it on your sidebar) Anyway, I don't know how to fix it so that my old place connects to my new place, but I do have a couple of new posts up if you'd like to come by for a visit. 🙂
Maybe it is a sign of the times.
I owe you an e-mail…I'll get to that soon. Nothing serious, just annoying.
Thank you for pointing out that your blog wasn't updating on my blog roll. I am trying to subscribe to more blogs via e-mail – which I just did to your blog. NOW…why isn't your picture showing up on your comment?!?
Thank you for stopping by…I really do appreciate it!
Oh, Mary, this is such a beautiful illustration. Thank you for opening your heart and freeing others to open theirs as well.
Thank you Natasha.
I believe it is a sign of the times….for so many years we've been told and taught to be guarded, to take care of number 1 that we've forgotten that we need more than ourselves. How wonderful that you're still trying!
Thank you, Jess. We DO need more than ourselves.
Sometimes a quiet time is good, but don't give up God will use your wisdom, your words, your ability and willing heart, just sometimes the answer from him is to wait. So don't give up… just listen and be patient.
Thank you for the encouragement.
First. coming from someone from the Midwest: Thank you. For being neighborly. Coming from your family in Christ: thank you. for being His hands and feet that day. For showing His love.
Second. so proud of you, friend. for seeking, reflecting, pondering, and then sharing this journey you are on. Do you know Dolly @ Soul Stops? I feel she's on a similar path…
third. You've given me that gut wrenching feeling of conviction. For I have been avoiding some new neighbors because I know (the bad part of) their story and don't want to expose my impressionable son on their troubled children… ouch. guess we're making cookies today.
Thank you, friend.
Oh, Nikki I know about wanting to shelter you own! Pray, trust the Lord and follow his lead. thank you for the encouragement and kind words friend.
Lovely post, Mary. And the pictures! Those cookies made my mouth water. Its so sweeet for you to reach out to someone new on your street. I often wonder why I don't slow down to be more "neighhborly like".
You have inspired me!
You are so sweet Annesta!
What a beautiful illustration. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Christ by welcoming your new neighbor and thank you for being so real with your journey. We certainly can't receive with clenched fists and you have reminded me that sometimes I need to open and receive.
Thank you, Deanna
I think you are wonderful and brave and this is just . . . AWESOME.
good for you for going over there and being welcoming! do you know that i myself am not a "stop over" person? i think it is because my life is in a season that seems to be always messy, always between this and that, and the fact that i am extremely awkward at small talk 🙂 Perhaps she's more like me, yet i love watching your heart just open up and speak in love in such a way. keep a friendly relationship with her boys, maybe that will warm her mama heart up… I know you warm up mine 🙂
Thank you, Tara! You warm my heart too!
Inspiring! It makes such a difference when people are welcoming not jut in gesture but in spirit.
My door is always open. You can bring me cookies any time! ;D