I’m a pretty reclusive guy. Quiet. Now, ask my good friends or co-workers if I’m quiet and they’ll laugh. I reach my comfort zone with people and they can’t shut me up. But when it comes to reaching out to people, meeting people, I’m very reserved, maybe even shy. But things are changing.
My wife & I have been living in our neighborhood a good 3 years now, and I am just starting to get to know my neighbors. I’m talking about people who live right next door & across the street, people I see practically every day. It finally started bothering me that I didn’t know these people. And I blame my son for that.
I’ve found that parenthood opens doors for relationships with others. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and found a recent blog post by Steve McCoy that references the same sorta thing. His son is joining little league, and Steve sees and opportunity to connect with others in his community.
…And he threw a baseball at his son’s face…but really, he’s a nice guy, that Steve. I digress.
Being a father has made me realize it’s important that I knew the children who live in my neighborhood; I realize it’s important that my neighbors know my son, so we can watch out for each others’ families. Being a father has made it possible for me to bust thru those barriers I’ve set up for myself, to quit assuming I have nothing in common with the other parents on my block, to leave my safety zone and reach out in friendship to my neighbors. And you know what I’ve found? These are nice people, and I am forming friendships with a couple of the fathers despite the fact that they like sports and I don’t, and despite the fact that they know about cars and I don’t. What I’ve found is that we are husbands and fathers, and that is enough to begin connecting with one another.
The other night I sat outside with my neighbor across the street, talking until midnight about music, parenthood, and whole lot about faith, and I realized that God makes these connections for us. He places us in our communities so that we can share our lives & experiences, our burdens & hardships, and most importantly, so that we can share our lives in Christ. Because of our conversation, my neighbor is interested in visiting my church, so I gave him a recorded sermon last night. He was excited about that – said he’s got a business trip this week and he’ll need something to help pass the travel time. I’m looking forward to his return so that we can discuss the sermon.