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  • Writer's pictureChar Seawell

Mi casa es Su casa

The Nextdoor app was designed to help build community between neighbors. Through it, neighborhood information gets shared, help and advice are solicited and given, and items no longer needed are shared.

At least in principle and at its best.

Unfortunately, it often dissolves into “the real world” as folks with different views of the world comment, attack, or support each other. As mom would say, “It is what it is…”

Just this morning someone posted about suspicious activity in their neighborhood. Apparently two people were walking in the street in hoodies and one had a backpack on. Should she call the police? You can imagine the posts that followed. I did not comment publicly, but in my head, I thought…

Why not just introduce yourself and get to know them?

I don’t know how God works in you, but for me, whenever my “little holier than thou self” shows up, God always engineers a “moment of growth for me”... which he did in less than an hour this morning.

After reading the post, I headed out for a walk in the chill of fall in the desert. Exhausted from the previous day’s activities, I treasured every step, taking new routes in the neighborhood while making a creative “to do” list in my head. And I would save cleaning the house for last, promising myself a quiet start to my day, free of human connection…just me and the doves and the hummingbirds.

As I rounded the corner near my house, walking towards me in the street was a person in a black hoodie, dark sunglasses, and…you guessed it…a backpack.

Why not just introduce yourself and get to know them?

Apparently it was time for the rubber to meet the road. I walked over to introduce myself and learn something about a fellow walker, whose gender was not apparent as the hoodie was pulled up tightly against the cold. She pulled back her hoodie, revealing a beautiful spiky silver haired “do” and explained she was visiting from Indiana and planning on moving when she retired next June. Walking gave her an opportunity to see areas she might want to live in, and she had wondered what the homes looked like here in my neighborhood.

Ask her into your home.

Wait….what? The sink is full of dishes. Clothes are everywhere. The music equipment is spread all over the house. I can’t ask a total stranger into my home. Why hadn’t I stuck with the plan to always have the home prepared to meet visitors?

Then words escaped from my mouth before I could defend.

If you don’t mind a mess, you are welcome to come see our home to get ideas of what you might want.

She thought that was a lovely idea. I showed her every room trying hard not to apologize for every mess. No stone was left unturned. Yes, the cat box was in the middle of the laundry room. Yes there were unmade beds. And yes, there was underwear on the bathroom counter.

In spite of these crimes against humanity, we had a lovely conversation and bonded over our mutual love of cats. Half an hour later she was saying goodbye, and I had made a new friend.

But I was given a gift far more valuable in this interruption of my well made plans, I think.

It is far easier to declare what righteous behavior should be for others than it is to actually live it myself.

I don’t know what your relationship is with the Creator of the Universe, but I believe that He views me with gentle, sardonic humor. All the time. I excel in letting Him know how things are or how they should be or what my grand plan is for my life and everyone else’s.

And after I have declared this to the world, mostly on my imaginary “when I rule the world“ spreadsheet, I usually feel His kind, gentle, always loving voice in my spirit, as He pats my head, saying,

There, there, child….slow down. I know you. I love you. Just follow me.

So I listened to that voice today instead of my own. My home was a mess, but today I welcomed the stranger in instead of just telling others that’s what they should do. I am a slow learner, and I often get in the way of the Creator’s desires for me, but today I opened the door.

Tomorrow, I may go a step further and offer to make coffee in the messy kitchen and dump the laundry off of the couch and maybe even make a little coffee cake and sit for a more extended chat.

But today it was another small step in the process of aligning my heart with my Creator’s.

And that in itself is a small miracle.

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