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Seeking Out Friendship

Posted by Molly Meyer on

 

This story starts with my stalking another family.

Last spring, our neighbors in the house to our left moved out without saying goodbye. It wasn't much of a surprise.

We’ve lived in our home for over eight years. During most of that time, an elderly lady and her adult son were our next-door neighbors. We were friendly but didn't have much in common. The tenants that followed, a middle-aged woman with two teenage children, were pleasant but busy, so we didn't see much of them.

Copyright: oksanaok / 123RF Stock Photo

 

When the owners were preparing the house to rent out again, I decided to be aggressively friendly to find out who was moving in. I'm so glad I asked. Turns out, the new tenants were a family moving from Texas with two small children. I was super excited. On our block, we have been the only household with young children. Although we have many friends, we have never had neighbor friends. I started counting the days until our new neighbors moved in.

When the day arrived, I kept an eye on the house for any signs of movement all day. I had a card, bouquet of flowers, and a pie ready to give them. But the sun set with no sign of them.

As I was getting ready to go upstairs to bed, I saw a light on next door. They were there! I quickly grabbed my welcome gifts and headed next door. I rang the doorbell. No answer. Maybe they were putting the kids to bed? I didn’t know what to do. I began to rethink my strategy of ringing someone's doorbell after 9 p.m. Maybe not such a good idea? I worried that I was going a little overboard. Was I becoming a stalker? I left the flowers and the card by the front door, and headed back home. 

I decided I needed to cool my jets so I didn't scare them off—or cause them to call the police. The next few days I saw very little activity at the house. Maybe they had changed their minds or found another home to rent?

But then, one day, they were there: a mom, a dad, and two kids. The mom and kids had traveled a few days behind the dad, who had just started his new job. And just as I had hoped, it was the beginning of a great friendship. 

We started doing play dates and having dinner together. We celebrated our children's birthdays together. I introduced her to my friends, who then became her friends. We shared each other’s stories. Our kids played well together sometimes, and not so well other times.

Having a friend living in such close proximity adds a layer of involvement and commitment to friendship, if you let it. And that involvement and commitment can result in a greater layer of joy and depth of meaning.

It could have gone down a different path. I already have lots of friends. I'm also busy taking care of three little kids and volunteering at school and church. I could have kept to myself, waved to them when I saw them, and gone on with my busy life. I could have found a thousand things to do instead of opening up my messy home and inviting them in. I didn't know ahead of time if they would be different, unfriendly, or unlike me.

I could have chosen differently. But this time I chose to put myself out there, to be brave and vulnerable and seek out a new friendship. I took a risk.

I can't take all the credit for choosing wisely this time. I believe that God placed this family on my heart and grew my love for them before they even came to California. And I'm so grateful I listened to His voice.  

At the beginning of December, the family moved fifteen minutes away to a bigger home with more space for their new baby. Now we will need to be more intentional about our time together. We won’t have the benefit of everyday in-person conversations to learn about our lives. We’ll have to check in frequently and plan our get-togethers. The logistics of our friendship will change, but my love for them will remain the same.

The only way to have a friend is to be a friend. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Growing up, Molly Meyer wanted to be a professional cheerleader. When she realized she had no natural talent for it, she decided to be an engineer instead. Currently she calls herself a stay-at-home mom for her three children. She finds this phase of life joyful, humbling, and challenging. She hopes that God is doing a transforming work in her and preparing her to make an impact in the lives of her children and the world around her.

 

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