Our Neighbors

I was invited to write a piece about neighbors for Portico Collective's "Our Neighbors" devotional series...this is what I submitted.  I hope you enjoy and sign up to receive their daily devotions from some great writers!

I'm living in an apartment for the first time in 30 years.  Over the past three decades, I married, raised four children, changed careers, graduated from seminary and went through a divorce.  I've lived in 5 different states and now with my youngest off to college, I am on my own, living in an apartment in yet another state, with a new way to live into God's call and claim on my life.

But this move is different. I had to be intentional about what I kept this time.  Downsizing from 3,000+ square feet to a cozy apartment with two bedrooms and a postage stamp size kitchen is hard.  But my home is inviting and I have a beautiful back deck. 

I intentionally chose to move into this small apartment building, just a few blocks from downtown, because I wanted to experience living 'in town'.  Along the way, I am finding out first hand what it's like living in a neighborhood in transition.  

My street is a mix of large homes turned into duplexes, small apartment buildings, and single-family dwellings. One block to the south are fine homes that have been lovingly restored. But one block to the north a young man was killed in a hate crime just a week before I moved in. The house across the street from my building is for sale by owner, it has fallen victim to neglect thanks to a kitchen fire and smoke damage, the house next to it hasn't been occupied for years and may not be salvageable. 

So here I sit, halfway in-between.  But, I am hopeful.  The other five people who live in my building are nice, we've exchanged pleasantries in the stairwell and parking lot.  I am hopeful that there will be opportunities to have summertime barbecues once the spring rains come to an end.  Maybe, just maybe, we will become neighbors in the best sense of the word.  Then maybe, just maybe, I'll get to know the neighbors in the building next door.  But I am learning that being neighborly 'in town' takes time.  

I am hopeful primarily because I trust that God is here already here with me and the people who live in the neighborhood.

      The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.
      We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son,
      Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.  
(John 1:14, The Message)

The presence of God, the generosity of God, the goodness of God, assures me that all will be well - even in the midst of change.  And that makes all the difference in the world. 

I am hopeful...
and grateful.


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