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August 02, 2010

How it looks is how it is

The neighbors across the street have sold their home. They were good folks. They allegedly liked it here. But they found their hideaway in the woods that cuts his daily commute in half.

I watched realtors and prospective buyers pull in and out of their driveway for about four months. Who would it be? How will the neighborhood adjust? Of course one can pray about such things.

Lord don't let it be a couple of sloppy cousin Eddies.

And Lord please place around us a hedge of protection from anal don't let your bike tires or basketballs roll into our precious fescue neatnicks.

And Lord, we just ask that any new neighbors have less than two cats. And no Jack Russels. Lord you know that our two JRs are enough around here.

Lord don't let them be rocking the party eight days a week twenty somethings. Not too old and stodgy, dinner at 4:30 then Jeopardy and quiet in bed, either.

Lord let them be a couple of generous with their pick-up truck, kid loving thirty-something, slightly but not too progressive genuine Christians. And the husband enjoys playing sports and mountain biking. Wait, that's my friends.

Didn't Jesus interject the term neighbor when making some of his most difficult points? Do you remember that time when he was put on the spot and shook everything in existence down to commandments 1a and 1b? That was awesome. But do you you think "love your neighbor as yourself," means, like, your neighbor?

Oh Lord, who is my neighbor?

I imagine most new neighbor concerns tend to be nonconcerns. The realtor and potential buyers are most certainly looking back over here, loving or not loving us.

Market value is surely the largest new neighbor filter. It's highly unlikely that someone very socioeconomically above or below will even get the chance to stand and behold the circus that is our home. But for those who have personally seen how it looks around here...well that's how it is.

Does "curb appeal" involve various balls and climby things and toy trucks and a 4-foot high bike jump? Is this a boatload of evidence for noise and nonsense or family friendliness? In addition to our four children, neighborhood kids C, L, and K are here a lot of the time. Some combination of a few highschool guys who train with me, some family young and old, a few friends, and their children are here about two or three days per week.

Then you have the sporadic picnics, Bible studies, and other gatherings culminating in early October:

For better or worse, our family and friends and the amount of junk the kids drag out into the front yard that day does effect the buying and selling next door. Amy and I try to keep some semblance of order. Tending to yard work is like spiritual exercise for me. Well, at least a few hours of it. And we try not to let the sun go down on the flotsam and jetsum of the day. Every dusk has all of us dragging odd combinations of shirts and mismatching sandals, tadpole buckets and bug jars, trucks and shovels and miscellaneous swords and bats back into the garage for their nights respite.

And we love it. We're thankful, tired, and prefer it no other way. Pretending to be all cute and quaint would be terribly hard.

Lord help us to please and build up our neighbors, for their own good and for your glory. Even the poor souls who live across the street.


1 comment:

Sam Van Eman said...

Bob, thanks for the Subway sandwich and for introducing me to your boys! That was a nice break last night.

It's funny that the impressions you think potential buyers have of your play zone are simply other versions of the impressions you have of those potential buyers.

Since we're moving, we've had the same kind of thoughts. I've introduced myself to a good number of our neighbors already, partly because I'm doing the second commandment, but partly because I want to know who lives around me. It's this whole sizing up thing that adds to the stress of moving in.

I wouldn't mind being your neighbor, Bob. We'd add to the toy bin.