On our street, we bring treats to new neighbors. I remember thirteen years ago, walking with my then six-year old daughter a few doors down to leave a wrapped banana bread on a covered porch in the rain. We couldn’t have known then that our new neighbors would become our dear friends, couldn’t have guessed all the time we’d share over wine or coffee or meals, in our kitchens, on our porches and patios, and around our fire-pit. We couldn’t have known that their boys would be our godchildren and that our kids would be their babysitters. Couldn’t have known that our pups would come from the same shelter and that they, too, would be friends. When that house went up for sale back then, I prayed that kids would move in so my six- and eight-year olds would have friends to ride bikes with, but God didn’t send us bike-riders. Their eldest son was a baby in a carrier at the time and the youngest not yet a twinkle in their eye; no, He didn’t send bike-riders, but he did send us something better: life long friends.
Thirteen years later, on another rainy day, our friends are moving off of our street and into a beautiful new home. I’m happy for them, but it’s hard to see them go. I’ll miss the stop-and-chats, the impromptu walks, the last-minute shared bottle of wine or lattes just three doors down. We’ll still see each other, of course. They aren’t going far, and these are forever friends, but I’m thinking today about the tapestry of God, how He weaves our lives together and apart, and the huge difference it can make to cross paths with a person even for a short time.
The people who enter our lives are not there by accident. It’s not by chance that you occupy the same speck of a dot on a map as your neighbors, or workmates, the people you go to school with, or the ones who sit in a pew near you at church. Some of them are sent to teach us, some to strengthen us, some to test us, and some, like our dear friends who are moving today, are sent as pure gift. Today I’m grateful as I ponder all the many intersections which have made our lives better.
My daughter made an immediately dear friend in her first week at college who ended up transferring after the first semester; they’re still good friends and may always be. My son was on a basketball team in seventh grade with someone who may be the best man at his wedding one day. My husband worked with someone early in his career who ended up hiring him to work where he is today. The teachers I worked with on Friday hugged me on my way out the door to what we all knew could be a scary doctor’s appointment. The person who hired me for my first job out of college is probably reading these words right now, and she continues to be an encouraging voice in my life. You never know the potential impact of a person in your proximity, but it’s worthwhile to wonder at the reason why your paths may have crossed, what you could learn and gain and how you could serve each other at that point of intersection of your two lives. It makes life a little magical, just thinking of the possibility of it.
Tomorrow as our new neighbors move in, I’ll be making a banana bread and I’ll be walking it three doors down, though the very idea makes me weepy today. I don’t want my friends to go, but I’m excited for their next chapter and at the same time, I have to be open to the possibility of what these new neighbors might be in our lives. Their name, translated into English, means ‘treasure’, so we’ll see.
One day, it will be us who moves off of our street, or out of our church, or into new jobs, or through some other new door of possibility. The idea of change is exciting for the first time I can remember, but I don’t want to rush ahead. While we’re here, I want to learn everything I can about why we landed at this speck of a dot on a map, and I want to be of service to those around me. I want to sit and breathe where I’ve been parked and planted, reach my eyes to the sky, and bloom. God knows what’s coming next, and I can trust Him with it until He moves us there.