Day 24 of Lisa Jo's challenge finds me thankful? for new neighbors? I don't know about that for sure, but...crazy as it...that's what I'm thinking. You see...I have a long history with new neighbors in the house next door.
When we first moved into this house the house next door to us was empty. The lady that owned it is the lady that we bought our house from, but she lived down the road from us and she wasn't sure what she was going to do with the house next door...sell it? keep it? move in to it? She ended up more-or-less donating it to her church for a parsonage. That dear, sweet woman has gone home to be with the Lord since and, I think, in the end, must have ended up leaving said house to her church just for that purpose.
Anyway...the house set empty for the first few years we were here. Irene (the owner) would come in and out doing various things and we would visit back and forth in the front yard and what-not. I always enjoyed our visits and I think she did, too.
In the fall of 2004, Irene informed that she had decided to allow the church to use the house as a parsonage and that we had new neighbors coming...and they were homeschoolers..."like us"! Well...that was questionable! I hadn't known any homeschoolers "like us". :)
The next two years turned out to be two of the best years of my life! Our two next-to-the-youngest sons had married that same fall and our youngest son was really missing his brothers. God provided two new "brothers" next door and a "sister"! And one for me, as well!
The pastor's wife next door and I turned into sisters-by-heart very quickly and the next two years were magical...especially that first year...a knock on the backdoor anytime...day or night, midnight talks over tea and blueberry pie, our Jane Austin days and, oh! By the way...the Reece's DID turn out to be homeschoolers JUST "like us"! Crazy! Zany! And full of adventure! We went everywhere and did everything together! So many wonderful homeschooling memories! I can't even begin to explain.
And, then, the awful day came when the Reece's had to leave. The magic was over! When the Reece's left, a piece of my heart went with them...and it remains with them still. I chatted with Robin just yesterday and that same old magic is still there...it's just from a distance now. Oh, Lord! How I miss her! And she's halfway across the country. I pray that, someday, the Lord will make a way and allow us one more cup of tea and a slice of blueberry pie together in this lifetime. (tears)
Anyhoo...needless to say...after that experience I was kind of NOT willing to give away any more pieces of my heart. It hurt too badly. There have been at least three families in that house since then and I've not been a very good neighbor to any of them. Cordial when the moment dictated...yes...a "Good Morning! How are you?"...a wave of the hand...maybe even a loaf of banana bread or a plate of cookies at Christmas time...but nothing more...not even that much with some of them...and the last family that lived there I truly regretted not making more of an effort with. I really believe that lady could have used a friend...especially toward the end...but, by the time I realized it...even though the Lord had been dealing with me on it for the whole previous year or so prior to that...it was too late. I just couldn't do it. DIDN'T do it! WOULDN'T do it! And I have regretted it ever since. I felt so bad for them.
SO...long story, I know...(sorry)...yesterday afternoon it happened again! There was a yard full of cars next door and church people were milling around all over the place. I told my husband that I had a feeling we were getting new neighbors very soon. Sure enough...about ten minutes later a U-Haul pulls in and the yard full of church people commenced to unloading it and moved everything in.
Now...at this point...I know nothing about who or what has moved in next door. I do think I've seen the lady of the house, but, until I actually walk over there and introduce myself, I'm not ever sure that the lady I saw is the lady who even lives there. I just didn't recognize her. And I know they have a dog. It barked a friendly "Hello!" to me this morning when I let my chickens out.
As of this moment I have a loaf of homemade bread rising in the kitchen and I've set out a jar of freshly made grape jelly. My plan is to take that over in a bit as a 'welcome to the neighborhood' gift as I introduce myself as their new neighbor. How it will go from there I have no idea, but, at least...this time...I'm willing to try to be neighborly, if nothing else.
Praise God for new neighbors! Sometimes...it's just new neighbors...but, sometimes...new neighbors turn into friends, and...even better than that...some new neighbors become sisters-by-heart for life! <3